“I just got my head down and I don’t feel like I let up.”

That is how Joe Rothwell described his final months as a Rovers player before joining Bournemouth at the end of his contract.

The midfielder was linked with a move to the south coast club during the January window but ended up seeing out his contract at Ewood Park.

“Obviously it all started in the January window. It was quite close and things just couldn’t quite get agreed between the two clubs,” he told The Daily Echo.

“The first couple of weeks after that was tough for myself and my family with the way it all broke out – it probably didn’t come out in the way I would have liked it to.

“There was a bit of backlash from the fans and stuff like that but that’s part and parcel of what it is. I just got my head down and I don’t feel like I let up.

“I finished out the last six months of the season. We were still playing for a lot ourselves and we were in a position where, for us, we wanted to get promoted as well.

“I wanted that as a player. I wanted to get promoted to the Premier League and unfortunately we just fell away.

“Obviously, that interest was still there and thankfully, when the season finished, I spoke with the manager and he was saying they were still as keen as they were in January. Thankfully, it got over the line.”

Rothwell managed three goals and 10 assists in 40 appearances last season as Rovers missed out on a place in the top six.

The 27-year-old is now preparing for life in the Premier League following the Cherries' promotion under Scott Parker.

He added: “It made it easier because we still had something to play for, so I think I kind of forgot about it all and the main focus was for us to try to get promoted.

“It might have been a bit different if we were just mid-table and the season was kind of just fading away.

“It made it a lot easier because we were second or third at the time - still right in there and I think we felt we had a really good chance of going up. So, it was easy, my focus was on that. It wasn’t too tough to concentrate on it.”