Hungry midfielder Conor Hourihane is looking forward to hitting the ground running in his first match for Barnsley today.
The Reds kick off their pre-season away to Halifax Town at the Shay before a week-long trip to Italy when manager Danny Wilson hopes to take his charges through their paces in the sun. And Hourihane, who joined the Reds from Plymouth Argyle this summer, is ready to challenge himself at League One level.
“Everything’s gone really well so far,” revealed Hourihane, speaking exclusively to The Star. “The rest of the lads have really helped me settle in since I signed. It’s been good.
“I’ve been travelling in every day with Kane Hemmings [another new summer signing], we’ve been staying in the same hotel together so share a car for training. We go for a bite to eat together and have got to know each other, which all helps. We’ve become good mates and we’ve both become good mates with Adam Davies [the first of the new signings].
“We’re all in the same boat at the end of the day, we all want to play as many games as possible.”
And 23-year-old Hourihane, who started his professional career with Sunderland, is relishing the opportunity to show Barnsley supporters what he can do.
“I want to play regularly and score goals, so it’s important to hit the ground running,” added Hourihane.
“I’ve got targets for how many goals I want to score, but I just keep them to myself.
“But the quicker I can get to that target, then the better it is for everyone. I’m a box-to-box player and I work hard, so hopefully the Barnsley fans will appreciate that. I’m just looking forward to getting started and playing Halifax this weekend, it will be a good gauge to how we’re all doing.
Meanwhile, former Reds winger Jim O’Brien has expressed his appreciation for his four seasons at Oakwell.
O’Brien left the club for Coventry City last month having rejected a new two-year deal to stay.
But the 26-year-old will always remember fondly his times in South Yorkshire, even though his last season resulted in relegation from the Championship.
“I just wanted to give my thanks to everyone who made me settle in,” said O’Brien.
“It’s been a great experience - a real roller-coaster with ups and downs. But it has been amazing.
“Apart from when I was at Celtic, it’s the longest period of time I’ve spent at a club as a first team player. I’ve made a lot of friends there and a lot of them are for life, whether they’re at the club or just from the town. I honestly can’t find a bad word for anyone connected with Barnsley.”
The Reds announced Fantastic Media yesterday as their new shorts sponsor for the new season.