|Barnsley 0 v 1 Swansea City|
Monday, 17th May 2021 Kick-off 20:15
Conor Hourihane wants to be a big part of Swansea City’s success
Thursday, 13th May 2021 11:11 by Keith Haynes
Since January Conor Hourihane has wowed swans fans with his dead ball ability, frustrated many with his defensive work and completely baffled even the best in Alan Curtis with his work rate in games. The boy from Bandon, Eire needs to step up on Monday evening for the swans, it’s as simple as that.
Conor Hourihane was hailed as the swans signing of the season back in January and came with many Aston Villa fans wanting him to stay at Villa Park. You can’t fault Hourihane’s commitment to wanting to play, and in the four months he has been at Swansea he has continuously stated he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. His first four games were almost faultless, scoring goals and giving Steve Cooper some form of different option in games. For me it was when the swans took a 4-1 battering at Huddersfield that chinks in his armour began to appear. It was mentioned on here by David Cornish our regular sports writer that Hourihane offered little if anything when the swans were under pressure at the back. That’s true, and you could even place him at fault for some of the goals, his positioning was poor and his effort to get back meant he was still trotting in to position when Huddersfield scored.
Conor Hourihane is obviously an attacking midfield player, he requires time on the ball ( he won’t get that on Monday ) and players around him who are on the same wavelength. He can be ponderous fitting right in to Steve Cooper’s Swansea Way, and for me he was so anonymous in some recent games I forgot he was on the pitch. However, he has a very clear footballing ethic, a player who has bags of experience and the intelligence to pass that on to his peers at Swansea. These are great qualities and we respect that. It’s very clear that the championship is a completely different ball game for Conor than the premier league, and we agree he needs to adapt, but is this the right time to help him do that going in to the most important two games of the season ?
Conor is clear. He’s reached the final on all three previous appearances in the competition, winning two of those with Barnsley and Aston Villa.
“Wherever I have played I care about the club I represent,” says Hourihane, who has scored five goals in 21 appearances for the Swans. Obviously, I want to do well from a selfish point of view, but I also want to make sure I help that club achieve what it wants to achieve and be successful. I know what the goal is here, I know how great promotion is, and I know what is at the end of the road and I want to get this club get over that line. 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.
“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”
Hourihane hasn’t been a success from day one, and despite his clear ability at Villa and before that Barnsley, he started out at Sunderland. It was good grounding, then he followed manager Roy Keane to Ipswich before signing for Plymouth Argyle. At Plymouth he started to hone in on his game, but like at Swansea after his magnificent start it all took time. Some would point to Conor taking many years of hard work and commitment right up until he led Barnsley to a play off victory and then absolute success at Aston Villa as his turning point. It’s been a long journey to find himself where he is today. We are extremely impressed with his attitude, we understand he isn’t a dogged midfielder with attitude, that’s fine, We know what he is, a visionary on the pitch, attempting many match winning passes and obviously free kicks. He can and has turned games for Swansea City, and that’s what we want from him on Monday and the following Saturday.
We want the Conor Hourihane who backs up his words and is a game changer, a man who is remembered for being just that. A winner and a leader. We’ve seen it in him already. The next two games will define this, Conor will be involved, so we want the real Conor Hourihane please, the one who changes games and wins things for his team.
That Conor Hourihane.
How do you view Conor Hourihane since January, and can he really launch the swans back in to the Premier League ?
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Letters from Wiltshire #48 by wessex_exile
“And now the end is near, and so we face the final curtain…regrets, we’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”. Not quite right Paul Anka, probably more than a few, but otherwise a fair assessment of where the U’s are today. It’ll be interesting to see how we perform with the relegation monkey finally off their back – I’m not expecting miracles, particularly with Tranmere needing at least a point to guarantee making the play-offs, but they’ll certainly be more nervous than we will be, so can we make that count? This will be my last blog of the season, and not yet sure what I may or may not do for next season, but suggestions are always welcome.
Letters from Wiltshire #47 by wessex_exile
Here we are, at the penultimate game of the season, and our last game in front of the cardboard U’s faithful at the JobServe. It has been a long, difficult, and definitely strange season, which frankly I’ll be glad to see the back of. That’ll we’ll be here again in August is definitely going to be something to celebrate, but I suspect we’re facing a summer of significant rebuilding both on the pitch, and possibly off it too. I won’t be the only one, but the biggest oddity for me has been being able to watch every single game – not always easy viewing, but something I’ve never done before, and probably never will again. But it doesn’t really make up for not being there in person, the long train journey away-days, meeting fellow U’s and other supporters, and of course sharing a beer or three. Fingers-crossed we can return to the terraces in 2021/22.
Letters from Wiltshire #46 by wessex_exile
That was quite a week for us all then. In the space of four short but remarkably tense days we have gone from having to take shoes and socks off to check how many more points we need to guarantee survival, or whether we would even achieve it, to breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing we’re almost there. But close of play this afternoon, whether by our own actions or the failure of others, I am sure survival will be confirmed. Of course, Tuesday night not only all but guaranteed it, it also virtually condemned local rivals Southend United to non-league football for the foreseeable. Looking at the host of fully professional former football league sides currently battling it out for the two promotion slots out of the National league (including Hartlepool, Torquay, Stockport, Wrexham, Chesterfield and Notts County), it is not going to be a walk in the park for Southend to return any day soon.
Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
Tonight, Colchester United face Southend United in what may not necessarily be the most important game of our respective histories (though it’s certainly very close), but is almost certainly the most important Essex derby ever. However this season pans out, by the end of it there’ll either be only one team in Essex, or worst case scenario, none at all. If the U’s win, then Southend will be 9pts behind with just three games to go, and a minimum of a -12 goal difference to overturn if they want to overtake us. Certainly mathematically possible, but that would rely on a remarkable turnaround in their form, form that they’ve shown precious little sign of achieving so far this season. The stalking horse is Grimsby, with their game in hand, who have rather belatedly shown an improvement in form, so their match against automatic promotion chasing Morecambe tonight is equally important, particularly if we want to avoid the unthinkable, with both Essex clubs dropping out of the league.
Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
So here we are, as the nation mourns the passing of His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, the U’s face the first of two season-defining moments, with our late kick-off match at home to Walsall. Before then, no doubt many will have been focused on events elsewhere, not least the early kick-offs for Grimsby (at home to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers), and particularly Essex rivals Southend United, who faced a tricky visit to Exeter City – still very much in the hunt for at least a play-off spot. As I finalise this blog, I know that Grimsby have beaten Bolton 2-1, and Southend earned a credible 0-0 draw in the West Country. More to the point, the U’s will know this too. Whilst I can’t help but feel that will ought to be to our advantage, it surely must also put additional pressure on a squad whose confidence is paper-thin. We must hope that Hayden Mullins, assisted by Paul Tisdale, get their heads right, and send the lads out this evening fired up with self-belief.
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