DANNY Graham admits he can’t wait to link up with good friend Stewart Downing at Ewood Park.

Rovers’ first signing of the summer was a team-mate of Graham’s during their time together at Middlesbrough.

Having both grown up in the north east the pair were at the Riverside Stadium together for four years and a reunion should suit both men down to the ground.

Downing’s excellent delivery will be ideal for Graham as he looks to build on his 16 goals in all competitions last season.

Tony Mowbray’s new recruit will be 35 in July but brings with him wealth of experience that includes 35 England caps and spells with Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa.

“He’ll be great for the car school,” Graham said with a smile.

“You look at Stewy’s career and what he’s done in his game, it’s a really great signing for us.

“He’ll be great for the young lads who play in the wide positions and has a lot of versatility along with a wand of a left foot.

“He’s a great asset for us and is hopefully the first of a few more signings.

“He’s a down to earth lad and a typical north east boy.

“He’s a humble guy and will give everyone a boost.”

Another north east player, Harry Champman, is a recent former team mate of Downing’s having only left Teeside for Rovers in the January transfer window.

The midfielder has brought rave reports with him about what Downing will bring to the table despite being at the tail end of his career.

“I’ve been speaking to Chappy about him and he says he’ll probably be the fittest in the squad,” Graham told Rovers’ official website.

“Chappy has spent a lot of time with him at Middlesbrough, but it’s not just him, Stewy will benefit the likes of Arma (Adam  Armstrong), (Joe) Rothwell, those sort of players.

“Hopefully he can start the season well and show everyone what a good player he really is.

“If you look around our squad, there’s not a great deal of Championship experience on show, but having Stewy on board will certainly help that.”

Downing is not with the squad for their pre-season training camp in Austria due to pre-arranged personal commitments but will link up with his new team-mates on their return.