Aynsley Pears believes a fresh start will bring the best out of him after sealing a permanent switch from fellow Championship side Middlesbrough.
Pears, who has signed a four-year contract at Ewood Park through to June 2024, becomes Rovers' third deadline day arrival, following on from the season-long loan deals of Barry Douglas from Leeds United and Tom Trybull from Norwich City.
Aside from spells on loan at Darlington and Gateshead, Pears has spent the whole of his senior career at Middlesbrough, following in the footsteps of father Stephen, who appeared over 400 times in goal for Boro.
A graduate of the Middlesbrough youth system, Pears totalled 25 outings in all competitions for his local club, with one of those appearances coming against Rovers in the 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium in February.
“It feels really good to be here and it’s been a long time coming," the 22-year-old stopper admitted to iFollow Rovers after putting pen to paper.
“I’m really pleased that it’s over the line and that the manager has put the faith in me, so hopefully I can repay him.
“It’s been going on for a few weeks, but I’ve kept my head down, kept going and always hoped that the deal would come to fruition. It’s come now and I’m really happy about it.
“You realise when your time’s up somewhere and the fresh start is what I need. I have it here and I’m ready to take advantage of it.
“It was difficult to leave Middlesbrough because I’d been there since I was seven or eight and my dad was there as well.
“You grow a real affinity to the club, but you have to be selfish, think about your career moving forward and I hope I can now flourish at Rovers.
“You have to look after yourself because nobody else does usually, and I’m really happy to be here now.
“Once I knew about the opportunity to come here, it was a no-brainer for me.
“If you all come in and work hard then it pushes the rest on, so it’ll be a good environment to train in and Ben Benson seems a really good guy and I’ve heard that he’s a really good coach."
For Pears, the switch to East Lancashire will mean a different relationship with Mowbray, with the families being friends for decades due to Pears senior and the Rovers boss being team-mates as players on Teesside.
“The manager here is a good man, he’s honest and is someone who I’ve known since I was a kid," Pears explained.
“It’s a massive club with a lot of history. I know the manager and I know Mark Venus, so it’s felt like it’s a good opportunity to further my career.
“He was a big factor in me coming here and knowing I would get a fair chance under a good man in charge. That’s all you want.
“He’s said that I’ll have a fair chance to play and earn the right to play. I don’t have the shirt at the moment, but I’ll be doing my best to get it off Thomas [Kaminski] and get in the team."