Bournemouth striker Sam Surridge has opened up about his proposed transfer to Sunderland falling through during January's transfer window, revealing he was ready to leave the south coast club.
Surridge was on Sunderland's shopping list and look set to join them on loan for the rest of the season on transfer deadline day but the deal collapsed.
The 20-year-old was on Sunderland's radar after scoring 12 goals in 20 games during the first half of the season while on loan at League Two side Oldham Athletic.
The Black Cats signed Will Grigg from Wigan instead and Surridge was convinced to fight for his place by his manager Eddie Howe.
Surridge explained, as quoted by Chronicle Live: "With the Sunderland situation, I was ready to go until Thursday (deadline day) but we did not know if I was going to be allowed out.
"We had a couple of chats and he (Howe) said he wanted me to stay and be around the first team to try and fight for a place.
"It was one of those things I put at the back of my mind. If it happened, it happened but the gaffer wanted me to stay and I wanted to stay.
"I keep working every day under him and he said he will improve me as a player, which I have done since I came back."
Despite a lack of minutes at Bournemouth, Surridge is willing to fight for his place in the team. He added: "I wanted to keep pushing myself and see what I could do.
"It is nice getting recognition and being wanted by other clubs but I am happy to be working with top-quality Premier League players every day in training and the coaches are improving me."
As well as Oldham earlier this season, Surridge had a successful period at Yeovil last campaign, scoring 10 goals in 53 games.