Considering Barnsley have seen Manchester City and England’s £47.5m centre-half John Stones and his Everton heir apparent Mason Holgate pass through their doors over the past four years, it’s sensible to take note when a Tykes talent is making waves.
Midfielder Conor Hourihane hasn’t been linked with a move to any Premier League clubs just yet, but after skippering his side to third place after seven games of the Championship campaign, scoring three goals along the way, don’t be surprised if they come calling soon.
Second-tier giants Aston Villa and Wigan are thought to be watching the Cork-born midfielder, who served his time in Sunderland and Ipswich’s youth ranks before making his way to Oakwell via 125 League Two appearances for Plymouth Argyle.
Celtic and Rangers are also said to be monitoring the Championship Player of the Month for August’s recent progress, according to the Irish Sun.
Hourihane’s 73rd-minute opener last time out away to Wolves sparked an avalanche of late Tykes strikes as Paul Heckingbottom’s men ran out 4-0 winners at Molineux, making it five victories in their past six fixtures.
Their only low point during that spell was a 2-1 reverse at surprise leaders and Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield, thanks to a last-minute winner from Jonathan Hogg, so newly-promoted Barnsley could hardly have given a better account of themselves since going down 4-2 away to Ipswich on the opening day of the Championship term.
Last season, the captain hit the back of the net ten times en route to Heckingbottom and co’s eventual League One play-off success, with his final goal of the campaign coming in a 4-1 win over Wigan in early May, and led Barnsley to Football League Trophy glory in the same month.
He’ll be tough to ignore for the next Republic of Ireland squad, with old boss Roy Keane keeping a close eye in his role as Martin O’Neill’s deputy.
Next up for Barnsley is Reading at home, where the Yorkshire outfit are 5/4 to keep up their fine winning form.