Paul Downing helped Walsall reach the Sky Bet League One play-offs last season but he hopes to go one step better with MK Dons in 2016/17.
“I’m delighted to be here,” Downing told MK Dons PlayerHD. "This is a great Football Club and it will be a good challenge for me and one I’m really looking forward to starting - I can’t wait to get going!
“I learnt of the Dons’ interest in the summer so I came down to meet the manager. He instantly sold the club to me and after a look round I knew it was the move for me.
“I’ve obviously played against his teams in the past and it’s always a good footballing game. It suits me because I like to think I have a good range of passing and build out from the back – I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
“Hopefully we can get to know each other and build relationships quickly. We’ve made a good start and I’ve really enjoyed it so far – I’ve been made to feel very welcome by the staff and players.”
He added: “Pre-season is a massive part of the season. A lot of hard work goes into it to set yourself up for the campaign but there will also be a lot of team bonding with the long days that we’ll spend together.
The next few weeks will be tough on the players as they work themselves into shape ahead of the League One opener against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday 6th August and Downing believes it’s important the group uses this time to build chemistry and team spirit.
The preparation for what will hopefully be a successful 2016/17 season began on Monday when Downing and the rest of the Dons’ squad returned to training.
Three things you need to know about Paul Downing!
“Getting so close to promotion last year has made me more hungry this time. It’s obviously the target for a club like this to get back to the Championship and although it’s a tough league, League One, we’ll try to go out there every week and win every game we can.”
After a terrific 2015/16 season, Downing’s Saddlers were beaten in the League One Play-Off semi-finals by eventual winners Barnsley in May, but that disappointment will only drive the 24-year-old to be successful this campaign, according to the man himself.
Downing could make his first Stadium MK appearance as a Dons player on Tuesday 26th July, when the men from MK1 host Everton in a pre-season friendly.
Tickets for the friendly are priced from £12 adults and £3 under-18s, while Season Ticket holders are entitled to discounted prices - click here for full details!
To purchase tickets click here, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK/kiosk at centre:mk or call 0333 200 5343.