Bags packed, fridge cleaned, and ready to hit the road when the phone rang. It is safe to say Greg Cunningham was as prepared as he could be for a deadline-day move. But even then, the madness took him by surprise.

Cunningham had been told by Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock that he was surplus to requirements this season, only 12 months on after signing for £4m, and would be allowed to leave on loan.

Even though his deadline day day from Cardiff to East Lancashire, some 220 miles, ended with a positive conclusion, it's not a situation the 28-year-old wants to find himself in again.

“I don’t like it at all,” he said of deadline day.

“It’s great when you’re sat on the couch watching everyone going here, there and everywhere and if it happens on the last day, then great.

“But in the future, if I can prevent that then I would. It was a long drive to get here from Cardiff and luckily there wasn’t much traffic on the M6.

“If it was getting too tight maybe I’d have pulled in and got something faxed across.

“I made sure I was ready, packed ready to go. We finished training and I picked the missus up and off we went.

“I got the deal done before 5pm which was good but ideally I’d like to stay clear of it.”

On how the move came about, Cunningham explained: “When we got back from pre-season tour of America the gaffer called me in and told me pretty much to go out on loan. That was a couple of weeks ago now.

“Then I got on to my agent to try and get something sorted. Rovers showed interest and it was great to get things done on deadline, speak to the gaffer, and see where he sees the team going and how he sees the team playing.

“At least I was told and had a bit of time to get something sorted. I am very grateful to this club for giving me the opportunity and I want to repay the faith by putting in consistent and good performances for the club.”

Cunningham, who made eight appearances for Cardiff last season, is no stranger to the region after three years with Preston.

His move to Rovers gathered pace on Thursday, but his preparations had been put in place 24 hours earlier.

He added: “We obviously had a day off on Wednesday so I knew there would be an opportunity and I wanted to be ready when I got the call.

“Me and the missus packed the bags, cleaned out the fridge, the usual things, just in case.

“Luckily the call came and when I was leaving the training ground I rang and said ‘we’re off’.

“I’m happy to be here and settle in and it’s nice to be back north again.”

Cunningham played 111 times across three seasons for Preston, and admits the need for regular game-time is something he craved after a bit-part role for Cardiff.

“I just want to play football. Some players are happy to fill that role, and you do need people to fill that role, but I don’t want to be one of them,” he explained.

“I’m not forging a career to be a squad player. I have a log to offer and the gaffer had his opinion at Cardiff and I didn’t play as much.

“But I hope to work my way in to the plans here and show the gaffer what I’m about.”

Despite going from first-team regular to bit-part player, the Republic of Ireland international said the lure of the Premier League was too good to turn down, admitting: “I don’t (have regrets).

“I had some great years at Preston, but not very often does the door open to the Premier League.

“I don’t think anyone could blame for me making that decision.

“It didn’t go to plan, that is an honest assumption. I saw it going differently in my head but that’s how things can go in football.

“I kept my head down and did what I could when called upon, as rarely as it was.

“I had the opportunity to play some top sides. Unfortunately the team got relegated, to go close was disappointing, but this is a new season and a new chapter for me.”

Rovers took a 20-man squad to Fulham on Friday, with a hotel stay the night before the game. Cunningham was part of that and felt it was the perfect way, his initiation song apart, to get to know his new team-mate.

“I had the journey down and those away trips are great because you’re with the lads all the way down there, all night and the next day,” he said.

“You can gel quicker, have a laugh and get to know everyone quicker.

“The initiation came along and that’s nervy for any player but especially when you’re only just through the door.

“It’s been great, the boys have made me feel welcome from minute one, it’s a very close-knit squad here and I can see already that we’re going to give everything and everyone is pulling in the right direction.”