New Reds signing Conor Hourihane is hoping success in South Yorkshire could lead to international recognition.
And the former Plymouth Argyle midfielder is confident he can cope with the jump in standard from League Two to League One.
“I’m looking forward to testing myself,” said Hourihane, a former Republic of Ireland Under-19 and Under-21 international, who signed a three-year deal with the Reds on Monday. “It’s a step up in league and a step up in quality, but I’m sure I’ll be able to handle to that step up.
“It’s a fresh start for me here because I don’t know any of the lads, so I’m looking forward to meeting them all and getting started.
“And getting a senior cap for my country is definitely a goal I’ve set for myself.
“Taking a step forward to a club like Barnsley might bring that, but obviously I’ve got to perform on the pitch. It’s definitely something I’m working hard towards and, if I achieve it, I’ll be very pleased.”
Hourihane has spent the last three seasons with the Pilgrims. Last season he played 53 games and contributed nine goals.
But the 23-year-old admits he thought the deal might not happen after the Reds had two initial offers rejected for his services.
“There were a lot of twists and turns throughout the whole thing [contract negotiations], so I’m relieved we got it [the deal] over the
line,” admitted Hourihane, who started his career with Sunderland and then had spells with Ipswich Town and latterly Plymouth before his move
to South Yorkshire. “I had three good seasons at Plymouth; it went really well. I have a lot to thank the people down there for what they
did for me.
“I tried to lead by example and led from the front. Lucky enough I stayed captain when we changed manager. That was a big confidence
booster for me.
“I made the most of the three years, worked hard and now I’ve taken a step forward by joining Barnsley.
“Last season was my best season and every season I’m improving, so hopefully I can improve here.”