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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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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