"Bring it on!"
That's the message from Paul Downing ahead of the 2018/19 Championship season, with the players "itching to get started" once again.
The defender helped Rovers to a clean sheet in Sunday's 1-0 win at Lincoln and is preparing for his second season at Ewood Park, having played his part in last season's promotion-winning campaign.
Reflecting on the game at Sincil Bank, he said: “I thought we played some good stuff. It was a difficult battle out there and we knew what to expect from Lincoln.
“The main thing is that we’ve had another run-out, kept a clean sheet and got the win. We’ll move onto Everton now.
“In the Championship, you’re going to face teams with different styles of play so we have to be ready for that.
“Liverpool and Lincoln were two different tasks but I enjoyed them both. It was nice to get the win here.
“The season’s come around quickly, so we need to really switch on now and be ready for the first game away at Ipswich.
“We’ve done a lot of hard work this summer and we’ll go into the season flying. A lot of the boys, they feel at their fittest and hopefully that will stand us in good stead."
Downing expects competition for places to be higher than ever in the second tier, and says every player will have a part to play again this season.
“We’re going to need the whole squad, not just the starting 11, so the boys need to be ready," he added.
“We feel that we’re a tight-knit squad and we all support each other, so we’ll go into the new season with confidence.
“We’ve got the winning mentality from last year and a lot of good players in the dressing room. Let’s see where we are in a couple of weeks.
“I’m sure we’ll get a couple of new faces in to make us that bit stronger. You’ve got to be on your toes and expect competition.
“There will be numerous people who can play in your position and you have to be ready to get the shirt.
“We’re itching to get the season started, to play in front of big crowds and against some good players. It’s something to look forward to, so bring it on.”