PAUL Downing says he has a lot to thank Tony Mowbray for following the manager’s show of faith to bring him to Ewood Park.

Downing saw his loan move from MK Dons made permanent this week after initially arriving at Rovers minutes before the summer transfer window closed.

The 26-year-old worked under Mowbray at West Brom where Downing graduated through the Academy. And he was the player Mowbray entrusted with deputising for the injured Darragh Lenihan who has been sidelined since the opening day with a fractured metatarsal.

“I have a lot to thank him for in him bringing me to the football club and trusting me to play pretty early on and from then on,” Downing told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“I’d like to think that I’ve put in some good performances and been part of a team that’s won some matches.

“If it didn’t work out then he probably got the blame so it’s worked for all parties and I want that to carry on.

“I don’t want to think that I’ve done my job, there’s lots of games, lots of challenges and ups and downs along the way so I’ve got to maintain my form and try and be consistent and keep my place in the team if I can.”

Mowbray said the permanent deal, which will keep Downing at Rovers until at least 2019, was reward for the defender’s performances having not tasted defeat in his 18 games.

The former Walsall man was out of contract in the summer and had fallen out of favour at Stadium: MK. But the move to East Lancashire was just the challenge he felt he needed, while playing alongside skipper Charlie Mulgrew has proven to be a big help.

He added: “I enjoy playing alongside Charlie, he’s shown what a good player he is and that helps with my game but so have the other players.

“Going in to an experienced dressing helped me, training every day with quality players has been the challenge I needed to take my game to the next level.

“We’ve generally had a settled back four and goalkeeper which helps the relationships build.

“I’ve enjoyed testing myself and trying to get better.

“I’ve said before there’s a lot more to come from me and the team and I believe we can get better with one or two new additions to help the team and we can be excited about our future and the remaining games.”

Downing’s arrival in August was triggered by news that Lenihan was set to be sidelined for an extended period following his injury on the opening day at Southend United.

An injury to Mulgrew saw him make his debut on September 9, a 3-0 win against Rochdale, with Rovers not conceding a goal in his opening six appearances.

“I wouldn’t have expected it but I think it just goes to show what can happen in football,” he said of a permanent Rovers move.

“You can never take anything for granted and you have to keep working hard and stay consistent in what you do and good things can be around the corner.

“Being at such a good club and that first game away at Rochdale looking back it was unexpected to get in the team so quick, I had some luck with the injury and I thought it was time to take my chance.

“That’s how fine a line it can be.

“If I didn’t get in the team as quick and the lads were doing well I might not have got in so quick.

“I felt at the time it was important to show what I could do and help the team, we managed to get a good result and never looked back.”