Conor Hourihane returns to Barnsley as player and coach

Conor Hourihane Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Barnsley have confirmed the return of Conor Hourihane, who will take on a dual role as both player and First Team Coach.

The 32-year-old Irish midfielder rejoins the club on a multi-year deal.

Initially, Hourihane will serve as a player-coach before transitioning to full-time coaching responsibilities in two years.

Hourihane's football journey has seen him play for several clubs, including Aston Villa, Plymouth Argyle, Sunderland, Ipswich Town, and Derby County. He also had loan spells with Swansea City and Sheffield United.

He previously captained Barnsley to victories in the Football League Trophy and League One Play-off final during the 2015/16 season.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Hourihane stated, "To start the next phase of my career here, at a club I have such a history with, is special to me and my family. I can’t wait to join Darrell’s coaching staff and to get back to playing at Oakwell too. It feels like I am home."

Head Coach Darrell Clarke highlighted Hourihane's extensive experience, saying, "Having Conor’s experience around the building is going to be vitally important. With over 600 games at every level, including the Premier League and internationally with Ireland, there is nothing that Conor has not seen in the game. This will make him a top coach and someone our young squad can look to for guidance."

Sporting Director Mladen Sormaz also commented on Hourihane's return: "We are delighted to bring Conor home as he looks to continue the next phase of his phenomenal career here at Oakwell. His desire to bring the same standards to his coaching career is impressive."

Hourihane, who has represented the Republic of Ireland at senior, under-19, and under-21 levels, most recently captained Derby County to promotion in the 2023/24 campaign, featuring in 41 matches.