Conor Hourihane arrived in B6 as one of the Championship’s most highly-rated midfielders.
Hourihane joined from Barnsley in January 2017 for an undisclosed fee, penning a three-and-a-half year deal.
Earlier this season, he notched the Championship Player of the Month award for August before being called up by Martin O’Neill to two Republic of Ireland provisional squads for World Cup qualifiers late in 2016.
In 2016/17 prior to his move, he scored six goals and provided 12 assists in 27 games across all competitions including a free-kick in his final match for the Tykes against Leeds United.
His career journey to date has been interesting.
After coming up through the youth ranks at Sunderland, he moved to Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town in 2010.
Cork-born Hourihane was transferred to Plymouth in the following season where he built up an impressive reputation in the heart of their midfield racking up 142 appearances at Home Park.
A move to Oakwell then materialised in June 2014 where he went on to top the assists and goals chart for Barnsley - scoring 14 goals and creating 19 for his team in League One.
In 2016, Hourihane captained his side to a 3-2 triumph against Oxford United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final before Barnsley won the League One play-off final against Millwall to earn promotion to the Championship – both matches were played at Wembley.
Last season he weighed in with 11 goals from midfield and 18 assists.
This form, combined with his ability to adapt to life in the second tier, alerted Steve Bruce - who fought to secure his signature.