Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom holds no hard feelings towards former captain Conor Hourihane, who the Tykes will come up against when they face Aston Villa tonight, reports the Sheffield Star.
Hourihane was one of seven players to join Villa during the January transfer window, as he ended a memorable stint with Barnsley.
The midfielder captained Barnsley to promotion to the Sky Bet Championship last season, and was instrumental in their fast start to life back in the second-tier, scoring six goals before his departure.
With his contract running down at Oakwell, both Hourihane and the club decided it was best to part company, Heckingbottom had sympathy for the midfielder, saying:
“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 saw it as a chance to get some money in and then reinvest and build for the long term.”
Since his move to Villa Park, Hourihane has struggled to find the same level of form that earned him a move. Villa have lost all three of the games the midfielder has started, and are without a win since Boxing Day.
Steve Bruce’s side sit 16th in the Sky Bet Championship, just seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Heckingbottom’s Barnsley side are still in with a chance of reaching the Play-Offs in May, currently sitting 10th in the league, six points behind sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday.
Barnsley fans… Do you share your manager’s views on the departure of Hourihane? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!