FORMER Cherries skipper Simon Francis insisted his “sole focus” would be on helping the club return to the Premier League – and was willing to shelve any media work to do so.

The legendary Cherries defender was last season a frequent figure on Sky Sports’ Football League coverage, giving his views as a pundit when the Dorset club were in televised action.

But now having taken up a role as assistant technical director at Vitality Stadium, the 36-year-old insists he is looking at his “long-term future” with Cherries.

Asked about juggling his different commitments, Francis told the Daily Echo: “I think my long-term future will be with the football club. I won’t do any more of the media work.

“Last season was great for me because whilst I was at home a lot doing the recruitment, I could also go up to London and do the media things on the side.

“It was definitely something I wanted to venture down and just see how much I enjoyed it.

“In the end, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it but it was hard just watching the Bournemouth games and then commenting on them, because really I wanted to be more involved, which I am this season.

“Certainly, it would be unprofessional to then go and comment on games on television when really I’ve got much more of an invested interest this season, which I have.

“So I’ve certainly put the media work in the background. My sole focus now is on the football club and improving them and getting us back to where I think we belong, which is the Premier League.”

“I’ll do all I can to do that and certainly that won’t be by doing a lot of the media work.

“I think that’s had to take a back step now for me to put all my focus into the football club now, which is what I want to do.”

Under new boss Scott Parker this season, Cherries are less than two weeks away from their competitive curtain-raiser against MK Dons in the Carabao Cup on Saturday, July 31.

They then host West Bromwich Albion on Friday, August 6, in their first league game of the new campaign.