Downing concedes he cannot afford to rest on his laurels given the form of Albrighton.
He said: "Do I think Marc is going to run Ashley and myself close? Yes, obviously he's done very well. He's a good player.
"The manager has said he will give people a chance if they are playing well.
"Marc is doing just that so we'll have to be on our toes.
"He's obviously got the ability. He's scored some good goals. The biggest thing for him is to get a run in the team.
"The manager will play him. I know he likes him so myself and Ashley had better stay sharp - because if we're not he'll put him in."