Sheffield United: Conor Hourihane explains why he believes The Blades are on the up after arriving on loan from Aston Villa

Conor Hourihane says Sheffield United’s senior players have an obligation to help shape the careers of youngsters such as Iliman Ndiaye and Morgan Gibbs-White, after revealing the atmosphere manager Slavisa Jokanovic has cultivated behind the scenes means he already feels comfortable expressing his opinion in the dressing room despite only joining the club last week.

By James Shield
Monday, 13th September 2021, 5:00 pm

Capped 28 times by the Republic of Ireland, Hourihane could make his second appearance since arriving on loan from Aston Villa when Preston North End visit Bramall Lane tomorrow - with Jokanovic this afternoon acknowledging he was impressed by the 30-year-old’s “decision making” during Saturday’s 6-2 win over Peterborough.

Hourihane was introduced during the closing stages of a match which saw Ndiaye and Gibbs-White, both aged 21, capture the imagination with virtuoso displays in attack. Although maintaining consistency is often the biggest challenge facing up-and-coming professionals, Hourihane insisted the culture he has encountered since returning to South Yorkshire means the duo and others looking to break into the first team squad will receive all the help and advice they need.

“The character I am and knowing plenty of people already in the building, it always feels like a really good fit for me,” Hourihane, previously of Barnsley, said. “I’m 30 now, I know this league and I’ve played in the Premier League too so I can’t - and don’t want to be - timid around the place.”

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Conor Hourihane signs on a season long loan for Sheffield United at Shirecliffe: Simon Belliis/Sportimage

“I already feel really comfortable here,” Hourihane added. “There’s a really good group of lads and the way the manager wants to play, the way he wants us to be, that really suits my style. I’ve settled in nicely and I’m looking forward to helping.”

Hourihane, a member of the Villa squad that was promoted to the top-flight alongside United in 2019, has been joined in South Yorkshire by another knowledgeable performer - Adlene Guedioura - after the Algeria international officially joined Jokanovic’s team.

“I’ve played against him over the years,” Hourihane said, referencing Guedioura’s previous spells in England with the likes of Watford, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace. “He’s got great experience, and it’s great to have another one of those on board. He’ll add his own little bits to the group, which will help everyone as well.”

Slavisa Jokanovic: Simon Bellis / Sportimage