Luton chief tried to sign Swansea's on-loan Villa midfielder Hourihane when at Yeovil

Town boss a big fan of Irish international

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 13th March 2021, 8:23 am
Updated Saturday, 13th March 2021, 8:26 am
Conor Hourihane drives forward for Swansea
Conor Hourihane drives forward for Swansea

Hatters manager Nathan Jones admitted he had tried to sign Swansea City’s on-loan Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane during his time as player assistant manager with Yeovil earlier in his career.

The Hatters boss was part of the Glovers backroom staff, number two to Terry Skiverton from 2009-12, when Hourihane was making his way in the game at Plymouth Argyle following spells at Sunderland and Ipswich Town where he didn’t feature for either club.

However, he was snapped up by Barnsley in 2014, moving to Villa three years later, where he has made 150 appearances, winning 24 Irish caps too.

Hourihane dropped back into the Championship due to a lack of top-flight game time in January, and started his spell in Wales superbly, scoring in three straight Championship matches, as he has four goals in 10 games so far.

Jones said: “They’ve taken someone from the Premier League in terms of Conor Hourihane, he’s a real good footballer and has done fantastically well.

"I actually followed his career because we tried to sign him when he was at Plymouth, when I was a Yeovil.

“It was a bit cheeky really, because he was a young player coming through, but I really liked him.

“From there, obviously, he went to Barnsley, Villa and he’s done very well, he’s been a good signing for them.”

It’s not just Hourihane than Town have to watch out for though, with striker Andre Ayew in a rich vein of form now, notching five goals in his last four games, four of them penalties, and 16 for the season, helping the Swans to third place, level on points with Watford in second.

He has netted twice in his last three matches against Luton as well, as Jones continued: “They’ve got good players, they’re not just well organised and solid, they’ve got some excellent players.

"They’ve paid money, they’ve got a Premier League striker in Ayew, Jamal Lowe is doing very well for them, so they’re a decent footballing side that have got real threats.”

Luton had triumphed at Swansea last term when Jones took over during lockdown, kick-starting the ultimately successful bid to stay up, but went down 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium this term.

Behind early on to Connor Roberts' strike, Luke Berry missed a wonderful chance from close range, before defender Matty Pearson was sent off for a second yellow when attempting to score an overhead kick, and Ayew put the result to bed late on.

Jones added: “The away game was a real tough game we conceded early which kind of put us on the back foot.

"Then we were probably the better team for large periods of the game until the sending off and even then we still pushed and pushed, so it’s going to be a good game, but it’s a tough game, we know that.

"Swansea are doing really well, if they play well and are fluent, they can score and hurt you, when they’re not, they’re grinding out results.

"So they’re proving to be a very, very adequate Championship side.”