Steve Cooper’s Swansea City side are flying-high in the Championship and are in contention to make a return to the Premier League, and one man has played a big part in making this dream a reality.
In January, the Swans made perhaps one of the best signings by a Championship club when they acquired the services of Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane.
The 30-year-old Irish international was struggling to find regular playing time in Dean Smith’s side and when Swansea heard about his potential availability they didn’t hesitate to pounce.
Since playing his first game for the Welsh side, Hourihane has contributed to the team both with his experience and his deadly eye for goal.
Hourihane has always been a goal scoring midfielder and Swansea have certainly drawn the best out of him, he’s managed five goals in his 13 games so far.
Two of his five goals have actively earned Swansea four extra points which includes a 1-0 win over Luton and a late equaliser against Brentford.
Swansea will almost certainly be in the play-offs come May and could even push Watford for the final automatic promotion spot. The Swans currently sit six points behind the Hornets with a game in hand.
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Hourihane has been enjoying his time battling in the Championship and recently said how great it is to be fighting for promotion once more.
“I love it when things are this way. It was the same for me at Barnsley and it has been the same almost throughout my time at Villa,” he explained. “It is exciting. Your career is short, so you always want to be involved in a team that is striving for something.
“You want games to have something on them, to be important and be a factor in what the future of the club holds. I know I am on loan, but I want to make a difference here, I want to help this club get to where it wants to be.
“That’s why I will always take these situations over playing 10 games at the end of the year in mid-table. Don’t get me wrong, you always want to win and perform, but knowing you are fighting for promotion is a different feeling.”
Swansea may have to stump up some serious money if they want to make Hourihane’s loan deal a permanent one, as Villa manager Smith has indicated to Aston Villa TV that he would like to have the Irish international back at Villa Park next season.
However, if Swansea gain promotion and Hourihane feels a vital part of this team it may make any potential deal considerably easier.
The creative midfielder loves getting as much game time as he can and at Villa that simply cannot be assured.
The Swansea hierarchy and Steve Cooper must ensure that whether they are promoted to the Premier League or battling for another season in the Championship, that Hourihane is a big part of those plans.