Why Paul Downing came off at half-time in Portsmouth reserves' victory over Millwall

Paul Downing's half-time substitution for Pompey reserves was precautionary ahead of a potential League One recall.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 11:30 am

The centre-back came off after 45 minutes in the 1-0 victory over Millwall under-23s at Privett Park on Tuesday.

Skippering a youthful side, Downing was playing his first game in a month and was feeling 'tight' before being replaced by first-year scholar Izzy Kaba.

With Pompey awaiting news on Sean Raggett's fitness after fracturing his left cheekbone at Wigan, the former Blackburn defender is in contention to be named on the bench against Burton Albion at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

If that's the case, it will be the first time in 22 matches he features in a squad, albeit he was sidelined with a hamstring injury during that period.

Player development manager Mark Kelly said: ‘Paul was fine. He got through 45 minutes and it was just precautionary.

‘He was feeling a bit tight. Obviously, with what's gone on with the first team, there needs to be a little bit of cover.

‘We had to get him through some minutes. He got through those minutes well and that sets him up for the weeks ahead.’

Paul Downing. Picture: Graham Hunt

Should Raggett be ruled out of action, Rasmus Nicolaisen will partner Jack Whatmough in central defence against Burton.

James Bolton is also an option, having operated as a makeshift centre-back earlier in the season while Whatmough was suspended and Nicolaisen was absent for the birth of his second child.

Kelly said: 'Haji had a bit of a groin problem, I think he overstretched it.

‘It was a bit sore. He got to the end of the game so it was a precaution.

‘He'd done enough work so there was no point in him staying on until the end.’