DEFENDER Jack Simpson insisted he was fully focused on challenging for a first-team spot at Cherries and added: “I will give my all to keep this club in the Premier League.”

The 23-year-old, a graduate of the Dorset club’s academy, had been linked with a loan move to a number of Championship clubs throughout the January transfer window.

But having started in last night’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, Eddie Howe confirmed the Weymouth-raised youngster would be staying put.

Boss Howe said: “Jack will be staying with us due to a couple of problems that we have.”

Simpson has seen his game time limited at Cherries this season, with just seven appearances in all competitions.

The Weymouth-raised star said: “Obviously, I want to play for this football club. I knew a couple of days ago I’d be staying. I spoke to the manager about it and just said my focus is here.

“I just want to do well, it was disappointing against Arsenal, I’d have liked to have played a bit better and had a bit more of an impact and we would have loved to go through to the next round.

“But from now until the end of the season my focus is here, trying to get into this team. I think the focus for everyone at the club is staying in the Premier League and showing what we can really do.”

Asked whether the loan links had come into his thinking, Simpson replied: “I don’t really have any control over those situations, I try not to worry about them.

“Obviously you’d like to know what’s going on but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

“I knew I might play in this game, so my focus was on that.

“The task now is to try to get in this team and the task for everyone is to stay in the Premier League.”

With Lloyd Kelly suffering a setback in his recovery from a thigh problem, Simpson is fully prepared to step up if called on to help the club’s top-flight survival mission.

“I’ve seen from where we started to now, no one wants to go back,” he added.

“We are all hurting with how it’s gone recently and I’m sure we are all going to put everything into it.

“I want us to stay in the Premier League the same as everyone else. Every time I step on that pitch, I will give my all to keep this club in the Premier League.”

Simpson could be involved when Cherries host Aston Villa in a crucial encounter on Saturday (3pm).