Harry Arter has revealed he wants to turn his loan spell at Cardiff into a permanent move if the Bluebirds stay in the Premier League.
The Republic of Ireland international is on a season-long loan from Bournemouth and has been a regular fixture in the Cardiff midfield under Neil Warnock.
Cardiff are in the bottom three ahead of Friday’s home game against Wolves, but Arter has become a fans’ favourite in the Welsh capital for his enthusiasm, energy and commitment to the cause.
“Playing Premier League football is all I want to do,” Arter said.
“That’s something I feel I’ve worked very hard for in my career and not something I want to give up very easily.
“I’m 29 next month and I know if I step out of the Premier League it might be hard to get back there.
“I’ve said to my family already the dream season would be Cardiff to stay up, the manager to stay on and then hopefully I can sign because I’ve loved every minute of being here.
“Have I told the manager? No, I think he can tell.
“Fingers crossed, it stays this good for me and we can sit down after the 38th game with us having stayed up and looking to stay here permanently.”
Bluebirds boss Warnock celebrates his 70th birthday on Saturday, and the Cardiff squad are planning something to mark the occasion with a “surprise”.
“I don’t want to ruin the surprise,” Arter said. “I think the lads are doing something. They’re very grateful to him football-wise.
“When he came in, they were near the bottom of the Championship and now they’re Premier League players.
“He knows how to keep players happy, on and off the pitch.
“He’s got me enjoying my football again, no disrespect to who I worked with previously.”
Arter has a new manager at international level after the Republic appointed Mick McCarthy to succeed Martin O’Neill for the 2020 European Championship.
O’Neill gave him his Republic debut in 2015, but Arter had a well-documented row with his assistant Roy Keane and withdrew from international duty in September because of it.
“I was really disappointed for Martin, he’s done so well for us as a country,” Arter said.
“There was a lot of pressure from the media in Ireland to have a change in management.
“The squad has changed a lot over the last 18 months and I feel it was a very difficult job for him to get the lads playing the way he wanted them to in such a short time.
“I’m sure Martin will be eager to get back into football at some point. He still definitely has that passion for football and probably missed the day-to-day part of a football club.
“Hopefully he finds something he wants to do, the right opportunity comes up and he will be successful.
“I’m not sure what Roy wants to do next in the game – whether he wants to be a manager himself.
“He has experienced that in the past, this time around he was a coach, and done some punditry. But I wish him the best.”