Aston Villa endured a horrendous campaign in the top tier of English football last term. After a forgettable season, where nothing clicked for them, they were eventually relegated from the Premier League and now find themselves in a questionable position in the Sky Bet Championship as well. At the moment, they are struggling in the second tier as well and need an impetus more than anything else.
Steve Bruce’s outfit are 13th in the league table with merely 35 points after 26 games and aren’t in a commanding position to challenge for the top six spots. They are ten points off the nearest play-off spots and are desperate to lay their hands on someone who can inject a massive positivism to their squad going into the business end of the league.
In their quest of signing players in the ongoing transfer window, the Villans have been linked with Barnsley’s skipper, Conor Hourihane. The midfielder has impressed one and all so far this season and has been a standout performer in the Championship.
Hourihane has been heavily involved in Paul Heckingbottom’s side since quite some time now and was instrumental in the Tykes’ promotion from League One last season. His form hasn’t dipped at all as he is still plying his trade with brilliance and has helped his team climb up to the tenth spot in the Championship.
The 25-year-old is an action-packed midfielder who is often seen tirelessly running up and down the pitch, making relentless efforts to bind the team together and tracking back on innumerable occasions to salvage his side out of trouble. He challenges for the ball, produces spectacularly neat tackles, intercepts and blocks when the situation demands, anticipates the movements of the opponents and is the intermediary for fetching the ball up the pitch and keeping the passes ticking. No wonder he has been given the captain’s armband after all he has contributed for Barnsley.
He doesn’t belong to the brand of midfielders who would just sit back and let the strikers do the damage; instead, he surges forwards, creates chances with his killer passes, scores on many occasions and has already netted five league goals this term.
The Irishman is consistent, mobile, technically sound and experienced and is unarguably the galvanising force which Bruce is looking for at the moment. His contract expires in the summer and thus Aston Villa should cash on him in the ongoing window to ensure that they pose a late surge for the play-off spots.