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Downes: We Couldn't Have Asked for a Better Start
Monday, 2nd Sep 2019 06:00

Flynn Downes says the Blues couldn’t have asked for a better start to their campaign as they end August top of League One by two points, unbeaten and the top scorers in a division in which the midfielder believes Town have the best squad.

Downes added the third in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Shrewsbury at Portman Road, his header, only his second career goal, the pick of the Blues’ goals in an opening month the 20-year-old says has very much gone to plan.

“Exactly. We couldn’t have asked for a better start really,” the midfielder said following Saturday’s match. “We’re top of the league, flying and the momentum’s there. The team’s playing well, all the boys are confident, so what more do you want?”

Town have never taken more points than this year's 14 in an August, although rarely if ever have they played as many as six league fixtures in the season's opening month. The previous best was 13.

Reflecting on the game against the Shrews, Downes added: “We knew what they were coming to do. Obviously they had [Steve] Morison up top – I played against him last year and he’s a threat in the air. The way they play, they create chances and we knew that they would.

“They went down to 10 men and sometimes it does affect the [other] team a bit. Sometimes you sit off and you relax but I thought in the second half we came out and stepped it up again, and we did well to get the result.
 
“I think we were always comfortable but I suppose it’s football at the end of the day and they are going to get chances.”

Reflecting on scoring Town’s well-crafted third goal, the Blues' 14th of their League One campaign, Downes admits he didn’t expect to find the net with a header.

“To be fair I didn’t think I would score with my head,” he recalled. “I thought I would score with my feet but I’ll take it all day. I just closed my eyes. I wish I could say that I saw it go in but I didn’t.

“I didn’t even see the defender’s challenge. I got a knock earlier, before the move, when I flicked the ball on and got whiplash. I’ve still got a headache now but I’m alright.”

Downes, whose only previous senior goal was in the final-day-of-the-season win at home to Leeds, says he’s been keen to get his name on the scoresheet on a regular basis.

“I’ve been banging on about it since last year that I’ve got to add goals to my game,” he added. “I’m trying to get forward more and Skusey allows me to do that as well.

“When Skusey sits I feel like I’ve got a free role. I absolutely love it in there and hopefully there is more to come. There are still things to work on but I’m getting there.”

Downes has cemented his place in central midfield alongside Cole Skuse this season but knows there are plenty of other players there waiting to step in if his form slips.

“It’s tough because everyone in the squad is capable of playing out there and doing a good job,” he said.

“It comes down to training every week and putting in a performance when the games come round to make sure you keep your place.

“Anyone can come into the side and do a job. The squad is unbelievable and you need that. If you’re pushing for promotion you need a big squad.”
 
He believes there is no stronger squad in the division: “No chance. No disrespect to League One but I think we’ve got the best squad in the league. Everyone is capable of playing in this league. We’ll just see how we go and keep the wins going.”
 
Downes added his praise for Portman Road’s atmosphere: “The boys are buzzing. The support we got last year, to be fair, when we were basically losing every game, the fans were still showing up and supporting us.

“They’ve been unbelievable but when you’re winning and you can give them something to cheer about it’s an out-of-this-world feeling.”
 
Town are next in action on Tuesday when they host Tottenham’s U21s in the Leasing.com Trophy, a game in which manager Paul Lambert appears is expected to field a much-changed side, however, Downes is keen to be involved.

“I want to play in that one, definitely,” he insisted. "A game’s a game at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if it’s the U23s or whatever, I just want to play.

“It should be a good game. When I’ve played against Tottenham through the years they’ve always been good. I know a few of their boys and what they’re about – they want to play football.”
 
EFL teams are obliged to field four qualifying outfield players in their starting XI. A qualifying outfield player is someone who started the club's previous match, someone in the top 10 players at the club in terms starting appearances in league and domestic cup competitions in the season up to that point, a player with 40 or more first-team appearances over their career or a player on loan from a Premier League or EFL side.

“Oh really?” Downes said when told Lambert needs to include some of those who played on Saturday. “Hopefully, I’ll get a game then.”

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ShropshireBluenago09 added 07:08 - Sep 2
Really stepped up this season, man of the match v Shrewsbury for me
2

cat added 07:14 - Sep 2
Downes is becoming the complete player now he’s bring goals to the table. When the likes of Huws, Dozza, Teddy and Nolan get match fit the midfields looking well tasty.
5

xrayspecs added 07:30 - Sep 2
Town can field a competely changed starting XI and stay within the rules. Wilson, Donacien, Emmanuel, Huws, Edwards, Nolan, Roberts and Keane all have 40+ first team starts. Only four of them would need to play.
1

Dissboyitfc added 07:40 - Sep 2
i dont expect us to progress very far in this cup, Lambert will have only one objective this season!
1

midastouch added 07:57 - Sep 2
My friend is a Luton fan and he said how good Downes looked for them during his loan so when he returned to us I had high hopes for him. Yet he didn't hit the ground running. But I understand he found the pressure too much and struggled mentally for a while (there was article saying so on here recently) so that would explain it. It's totally understandable too as there is a lot of pressure on these young lads. We all forget that sometimes. They aren't robots. Just like race horses aren't machines neither are footballers. The good news is Downes does really seem comfortable in his skin now and has probably been our best player this season so far overall. My only worry is if continues in this form we're going to have a real battle on our hands to keep hold of him, especially if we don't go up at the first attempt. But it's a nice problem to have. Better to have other teams looking at our players because we are playing well rather than having nobody pay any notice because we're getting beat nearly every week!
5

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 09:07 - Sep 2
Flynn's development is beginning to outdistance the others he "grew up" with. Already a good player and a likely first choice on the team sheet, with every prospect of going on to even bigger and better things. He is a player you now take notice of in games and is beginning to impose himself on the action in a serious way. Well done, Flynn! Keep it up!
6

londontractorboy57 added 09:51 - Sep 2
From my lofty position in the stands i didnt realise what a fantastic goal that was especialy the pin point passing from the back brilliant.
2

Linkboy13 added 14:38 - Sep 2
For the life of me i can't understand how Dozzell is in the England u20 side and not Downes perhaps he needs to stand around more with his hands on his hips it's certainly not picked on form or ability .
1

NewMaldenBlue added 23:56 - Sep 2
Must be goal of the month/season, I count 6 touches from gaining position at the back. I love how he shrugs off the suspected concussion following the goal.
0


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