Barnsley: Blackpool clash the priority for Heckingbottom as Aston Villa eye Hourihane

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
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Head coach Paul Heckingbottom wants Barnsley’s focus to return to the pitch.

All the talk surrounding the club has been about a potential player exodus in recent weeks.

Conor Hourihane

Conor Hourihane

Heckingbottom and co host League Two outfit Blackpool in their FA Cup third-round replay tonight, with the winners taking on Blackburn Rovers in the next round.

“The focus can’t be taken away from the grass,” admitted Heckingbottom who is looking to recuit.

“I’m busy trying to make calls and get players in. With all the stuff over the last week, it’s been difficult.

“We’re obviously focused on Blackpool first and foremost.”

A group of key players, including captain Conor Hourihane, are out of contract in the summer, and the club could decide to cash in in the January transfer window to stop them leaving for free at the end of the season.

Championship rivals Aston Villa are reportedly keen on a double swoop for midfielder Hourihane and defensive prospect James Bree.

The Villains are looking to lure the influential central midfielder to Villa Park with a £28,000-a-week deal.

Talks over bringing in Wigan’s Sam Morsy back to Oakwell are over as the midfielder has signed a new deal with the Latics.

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