Why Paul Downing believes John Marquis puts fear in opposing defences as Portsmouth duo prepare to take on ex-club Doncaster

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John Marquis puts fear into opposing defences and will be a Pompey hit. 

That's the verdict of Paul Downing as the former Doncaster Rovers duo prepare to meet their former club on Saturday.

Marquis has struggled to fire in front of goal following his £1m-plus arrival from the Keepmoat Stadium during the summer.

He’s scored only twice in 12 appearances and drawn a blank in his past seven outings.

Despite his final-third troubles, Marquis has endeared himself to the Fratton faithful because of his work-rate and willingness to harry the opposition out of possession.

He also won the Blues a penalty during Saturday’s 1-0 win against Bolton, although Brett Pitman’s spot-kick struck the post

John Marquis in action against Bolton. Picture: Joe Pepler

John Marquis in action against Bolton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Having been team-mates at Rovers last term, Downing believes the capture of the striker was a ‘signing of intent’ from Pompey.

And after netting 67 goals in the previous three seasons, the centre-back is confident Marquis can reproduce those exploits at PO4. 

Downing said: ‘Being at Donny last season, I knew he wanted to move on if we weren’t successful and we were unfortunate in the play-offs.

‘From our point of view, I was delighted to get such a proven goalscorer at this level.

Paul Downing. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Downing. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I know what he is capable of at this level and I’m sure he will be able to replicate it here, if not do better.

‘If he does then we won’t be far off where we want to be.

‘It was a signing of intent. We have a strong squad with a lot of options and it’s about us fulfilling that now.

‘John doesn’t give defenders a moment’s rest. He’s got a good all-round game and even in training, he’s always getting in behind.

‘If he gets a chance then it normally ends up in the back of the net.

‘I think he will put fear in some defences and they’ll know they have got to be at the top of their game.

‘Even sometimes you can have a good game and still can’t stop him. He’s a very good player at this level

‘He wears his heart on his sleeve. Sometimes he can say he looks a bit over the top but it takes nothing away from the good things he does on the pitch.’

Downing spent the second half of last campaign on loan at Doncaster from Blackburn.

Following his Ewood Park release, he penned a three-year contract at Pompey in June.

It wasn’t until the following month when Downing reunited with Marquis – although he wasn’t informed they’d again share a dressing room before the deal was confirmed.

The defender added: ‘He didn’t really keep in touch!

‘Since John’s come down, he’s probably used me as a familiar face and we’ve ended up getting closer than we probably were previously.

‘We share a room now on away journeys and I’m really pleased he’s on our side because he can be a real asset for the club.’