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Downing delight at penning Rovers deal

Paul thrilled to remain at Ewood Park long-term after penning a permanent contract

8 January 2018

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Paul Downing has expressed his delight at becoming a permanent Rovers player.

The 26-year-old has penned a deal that will keep him at the club until June 2019, with the option of a further 12 months.

Downing had been on loan at Ewood Park from MK Dons, but insists it was always his intention to extend his stay.

And a string of impressive performances on the pitch has seen the defender duly rewarded.

"It’s a great feeling," he said. "I’m over the moon for it to all get signed.

"It gives me and the club some stability moving forward and I’m hoping for many successful times in the future.

"It's one of the easiest decisions I’ve made. Ever since I signed on deadline day, it’s been an aspiration of mine to try and make it permanent.

"I’ve said many times how much I’ve enjoyed my time here so far and I just wanted that to continue, and I’m delighted it will do now.

"I’ve been pleased to play as many games as I have and to have an impact on the team and to help them on a Saturday.

"There’s a long way to go for me, I still feel there’s a lot of improvement.

"There’s a lot of competition for places here, so I can’t stop working hard and keep improving and trying to keep my place in the team."

After making his Rovers debut in a 3-0 victory away to Rochdale in September, Downing went on to play over 500 minutes of football without conceding a goal and he is yet to taste defeat in 18 appearances for the club.

The defender admits the start to his career at Ewood has exceeded his expectations and he paid tribute to the players, staff and supporters for helping him to settle into life in Lancashire so quickly.

"I think it’s definitely gone above my expectations," he added.

"Obviously I wanted to be at the top end of the league, like the football club did, and we’ve managed to do that.

"We still want to try and get into those top two places at the end of the season, but from my point of view, personally, getting in the team, helping them win and climb up the table, everything has gone really well for me.

"It did help, obviously, getting off to a good start and the fans, and your team-mates, taking to you.

"Going on that run, without conceding and helping us win games, it was the perfect start for me to then kick on and carry on in the next couple of months.

"It’s a great football club. The people behind the scenes and the dressing room welcomed me from day one, so I thank them for that, and the fans for how they have taken to me.

"It’s been really easy to settle in, on and off the pitch, which has been a big thing in helping me to play my part."

Downing reserved special praise for manager Tony Mowbray, who he worked under at West Brom at the start of his career, for making a late deadline day move to secure his services back in August. 

"On deadline day, you don’t know where your season is going to be," he added.

"I was sort of out of favour at my previous club, so I owe a huge credit to the manager here for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent on the pitch and trusting me to perform.

"Hopefully I’ve repaid that a little bit, but there’s still a long way to go."

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