It was Conor Hourihane’s displays for Barnsley that saw Aston Villa make the decision to pay a reported £3m to land the Tykes captain.
That was in 2017, Hourihane excelling in the one season he spent in the Championship with the Villans.
However, appearances have been few in this season’s Premier League and this has led the Sunday Mirror’s Neil Moxley (Sunday Mirror print edition – 17/01/21 – p70) to say that Villa are looking to loan him out for the rest of the season.
Conor Hourihane – a quick look
As has been said above, it was at Oakwell that the Irishman first came to prominence. He made 134 appearances for Barnsley in his three years at the club.
He scored 31 goals and provided 48 assists during his time in South Yorkshire before his move to Birmingham and Aston Villa.
Hourihane’s time at Villa Park has seen the Irish international make exactly 150 appearances, appearances where he has scored 29 goals and provided 23 assists.
This season he’s only featured in four Premier League games, scoring and assisting once against Fulham in Villa’s third game of the season.
The situation – Villa willing to loan out
In his article, Moxley writes the “word is out” that Villa boss, Dean Smith, “will allow him to leave.” Indeed, the one club named by Moxley is Middlesbrough but Sun reporter Alan Nixon tweeted that more are interested.
Another snippet that is also of interest is Moxley stating that Hourihane has 18 months of his current deal still left to run. That is by-the-by, what is important is a stipulation he credits Hourihane as making.
Ending his mini-article, Moxley writes that the stipulation is that Hourihane “will be looking for a permanent switch as part of any loan move.” This would likely play a big part in any decision he would make.
With that stipulation in mind, here are three Championship sides that would be a good fit for Conor Hourihane.
Three Sky Bet Championship sides that would suit Conor Hourihane
Steve Cooper’s Swans are gliding gracefully along in 2nd place in the Sky Bet Championship table. The division’s most miserly defence (13 conceded in 24 games) is offset by 29 scored – which doesn’t put them amongst the highest scorers in the division.
Whilst performing well, and pegging back Norwich, the presence of a cultured performer such as Hourihane would only add to the threat they pose.
Jason Tindall’s side is currently in 3rd place in the Sky Bet Championship table. They are four points behind Swansea and they would be wanting to close that gap as quickly as possible.
Hourihane is more than time-served at Championship level and would slot straight into Tindall’s side. In doing so, the former Barnsley man would be a threat from the get-go. This threat would be a dual-threat, through his goal and assist contributions.
The past couple of seasons have seen Brentford as a play-off bridesmaid and not the promotion bride in the Championship. The electric BMW trio of Benrahma, Mbeumo and Watkins was tripped and there’s just Bryan Mbeumo left of that.
However, the Bees are buzzing in 4th place and have the explosive 16 goals of Ivan Toney to replace them. Bringing in Hourihane on loan would be an instant upgrade applied to a midfield that already has the likes of Josh Dasilva and Henrik Dalsgaard in it.