Paul Downing today admitted he would love to extend his current Walsall deal – but will first concentrate on cementing his place in the first team.
The 21-year-old centre-back is among a number of exciting young players in the Saddlers squad and has started all three games so far this season.
Winger James Baxendale recently put pen to paper on a new three-year deal and boss Dean Smith has said the club are keen to tie down more of their young stars to longer term contracts.
Downing, who joined from Albion last summer and signed a new 18-month deal back in February, says he is loving life at the Banks’s and would be keen to accept a new deal were if offered.
“I enjoy playing for the manager, Richard O’Kelly and the staff,” he said.
“I get on well with the players and I’m a local lad. If I was offered a new deal that would be brilliant but at the moment all I’m concentrating on staying in the team and continuing to pick up the wins.”
Baxendale’s new deal was the longest signed by a Saddlers player in recent memory and further confirmed the club’s commitment to build with young players. Downing says it has provided a morale boost.
“We have a lot players of a similar age here and hopefully Bax’s deal is the first of many to follow,” he added.
Downing is likely to partner skipper Andy Butler at the centre of defence tomorrow when the Saddlers host Notts County, looking to continue their perfect start to the season.
Smith today confirmed Andy Taylor faces at least another week on the sidelines. The 27-year-old left-back has not featured so far this season after picking up an ankle injury against Nottingham Forest in pre-season.
Taylor is definitely out of tomorrow’s home clash with Notts County and Smith hopes he will return in time for the trip to Brentford on August 24.
When he does return, he faces a fight to win his place back from 19-year-old Mal Benning, who has impressed in the early fixtures. “Hopefully he will be fit for next week and the Brentford game,” said Smith. I know he definitely won’t make the game for tomorrow.”