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Saddlers gave me a great grounding, says Paul

Downing pays tribute to former club Walsall for giving him his chance

29 January 2018

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Ahead of the visit of his old side on Tuesday night, Rovers defender Paul Downing admits he owes a lot to the Saddlers.

Downing enjoyed a four-year stint with Tuesday's visitors, appearing 183 times for the club after arriving from West Bromwich Albion.

And he confesses he can't wait to meet up with some former colleagues, but there'll be no old pals' act from him on the night at Ewood Park.

“I’m really looking forward to the game. I have fond memories in my four years there and I feel I owe a lot to Walsall for giving me the opportunity to play," Paul said when discussing his time in the Midlands with the club to iFollow Rovers. 

“There’s still a few familiar faces at the club who I’m looking forward to seeing on Tuesday night.
 
“You see in football at times that pathways are blocked for players who are probably good enough but don’t get the chance.
 
“I was fortunate to get the opportunity under a manager who trusted me to play every week. It’s certainly held me in good stead since kicking on in my career since.
 
“It’s a family club. You get to know all the staff and the team spirit there was good. It’s a really good club."
 
It'll be the first time this season that the two clubs meet, with the last clash coming in November 2002 when Rovers won in a third round League Cup on penalties.
 
But it's hardly a trip into the unknown for Paul, who believes Walsall will come to play the right way under the Ewood Park lights.
 
“It’s been weird to have not played them already but we do have them twice in the space of a month. They’ll try and pass it and I’m sure it’ll be a good game," he added.
 
“They’ll be hard working, organised and have a game plan, but it’s about us focussing on ourselves and making sure we come away with a victory from the game."
 

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