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Stewart Downing is hoping that matchday number three in the Championship will provide three precious points for Rovers

16 August 2019

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Stewart Downing is aiming to make this weekend's clash against old club Middlesbrough a game to remember for Rovers.

The 35-year-old, who appeared more than 400 times for his hometown team across two spells, will come up against his boyhood club for the first time in his career on Saturday afternoon.

It's not been the start to the campaign that Rovers will have wanted so far, but Downing's eager to play his part in our first victory of the season, and with it upset brother-in-law Jonathan Woodgate, the current Boro boss.

“I think Boro will try and play the way they have done so far and come to play," the former England man told iFollow Rovers when previewing this weekend's encounter.

"Our manager is more concentrated on us. He has a lot of belief in our squad and so do I – we can beat anyone in this league on our day.

“They’re trying to play a different way from last season and we need to put pressure on them.

“Neither us or Boro have had the start to the season that we’d have liked, which makes the game that little more interesting.

“Both teams need a win and I’m looking forward to it. There has been a number of positives from the performances despite us being yet to get a win in the league.

“I watched Middlesbrough’s game against Luton on the opening night of the season and you could see a lot of things that they are trying to do, but defensively they conceded three goals. In the other game at Brentford they looked a little bit tentative at the back," he reflected.

“We’re not panicking at the moment, it’s only two games into the season and we know we just need that last pass, that last finish, and everything will be much rosier.

“The way we won on Tuesday night I think showed that we will keep going to the end, keep battling and ended up getting the win with an exciting finish.

“We just need points, it doesn’t matter who scores the goals."

In football things can change quickly, and Downing uses promoted pair Norwich City and Sheffield United as prime examples of that.

“I remember at Middlesbrough last season we really didn’t start well at Millwall and then beat Sheffield United 3-0. After that game I honestly thought that they [Sheffield United] might struggle and they ended up winning promotion," he added.

“It’s that type of league. I remember playing Norwich and they weren’t great on the day, they ended up going on a mad run of form.

“Maybe one result can kickstart our season.”

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