Conor: I’m staying put at Barnsley

Going nowhere: Barnsley's star man Conor Hourihane
Going nowhere: Barnsley's star man Conor Hourihane

Star midfielder Conor Hourihane has pledged to stay at Barnsley next season.

Plenty of interest surrounds the Irishman after his impressive debut season for the Reds.

But the club’s player of the year - and The Star’s Barnsley player of the year winner - is adamant he is not leaving Oakwell despite rumoured interested from a number of clubs, including some in the Championship.

“As far as I know I’m staying Barnsley next season,” revealed Hourihane, speaking exclusively to The Star.

“I’m happy at Barnsley. I enjoyed last season and I’m really looking forward to this season. Of course I want to be the best player I can be and play at the best level I can, but I’ve not had any interest from any other clubs.

“Last season was a good starting block for me. I had three good seasons at Plymouth Argyle and then Barnsley signed me.

“Last season went really well and was a good starting block for me. I just want to keep improving and keep developing as a player.”

Cork-born Hourihane was a regular starter for the Reds last term and he blossomed in midfield, first under former boss Danny Wilson, and then under new manager Lee Johnson.

The 24-year-old, who played a staggering 53 times, was the club’s leading scorer with 14 goals and his free-kicks and corners led to a large percentage of the Reds’ goals.

“I had a long season, it’s been nice to have a bit of a rest,” admitted Hourihane. “I’ve just taken myself away from football for a while, but now I’m itching to get back.

“We start pre-season at the end of the month and to be honest I’m looking forward to getting fit.

“I know it’s going to be really tough and we’re probably not going to kick a ball for a couple of weeks, but I’m looking forward to getting back on the training pitch.

“Next season we’re going to try for promotion, which is exciting for everyone.

“We showed signs of what we are capable of when we went on that nine-game unbeaten run towards the end of the season.

“Unfortunately we left it too late to push for the play-offs and faded in our last nine games.

“We drew five, lost three and only won one, so our chances of the play-offs disappeared.

“But we all took a lot of confidence from they way we went on that unbeaten run and know what we’re capable of.

“We know consistency is going to be important and starting the season well, so that’s what we’ll be looking to improve on.”