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Downing deal done

MK Dons defender joins on season-long loan

31 August 2017

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Rovers have completed a busy day of transfer activity with the season-long loan signing of Paul Downing from MK Dons.

Hot on the heels of the arrivals of Rekeem Harper and Sam Hart, the central defender becomes Tony Mowbray's 12th signing of the summer.

Born in Devon, Downing came through the ranks at West Bromwich Albion, breaking into the first team picture at The Hawthorns under the Rovers boss.

And although he made the bench for the final game of the 2008-09 season, as the Baggies drew 0-0 with Rovers at Ewood Park, he failed to make a senior appearance for the Midlands club.

Loan spells with Hereford and Shrewsbury Town followed, but it was at Barnet where he became a firm favourite - playing 32 times for the Bees between November 2011 and April 2012.

Those impressive performances prompted Walsall to secure his services the following August and he would go on to enjoy four seasons with the Saddlers, making over 180 appearances and scoring six goals.

Those appearances included the Football League Trophy final against Derrick Williams' Bristol City in March 2015 and the League One play-off semis against Barnsley in May 2016.

Upon the expiry of his contract, he joined MK Dons in June 2016, penning a two-year deal.

Under then-boss Karl Robinson, Downing was a near ever-present in the Dons defence, playing 43 times in his debut season.

However, a change of manager has limited his first team opportunities this season to appearances in the Carabao Cup and Checkatrade Trophy.

The 25-year-old was an unused substitute in Rovers' 4-1 victory over MK Dons at Ewood Park last weekend.

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