Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom has claimed to the Sheffield Star that Conor Hourihane left to join Aston Villa so he could get more money.

The 26-year-old midfielder’s contract at Barnsley was set to expire at the end of the season, meaning that Aston Villa were able to swoop in and sign him for much cheaper than his actual value because the Tykes didn’t want to risk losing him on a free transfer. And so Hourihane completed his move to Aston Villa, with reports suggesting this wages are now at £28,000 a week.

And ahead of Hourihane returning to face his former club, Heckingbottom has all but confirmed that he left Oakwell so he could go and get more money with Villa, with Barnsley never even having a chance of matching their wages. But despite that, Heckingbottom has said he bares no ill will towards the midfielder and wishes him all the luck in the world, apart from tonight’s game of course.

He said: “If I had been a player in a similar situation then I’d have probably have done the same thing,”

“Money is a huge part of it because the figures he could earn in this league compared to what we were paying was outrageous.”

“We were in a position where the club thought we were safe this season and it was a case that we would be losing players in the summer for free. If the club were happy with the money then he was going to go because Conor saw it as a massive opportunity.”

“We saw it as a chance to get some money in and then reinvest and build for the long-term.”

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