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'To have five this early in the season is good... But I feel I could probably have had a couple more'

Ireland’s Conor Hourihane has enjoyed an encouraging start to the season with Aston Villa.

Conor Hourihane (file pic).
Conor Hourihane (file pic).
Image: EMPICS Sport

CONOR HOURIHANE HAS had an encouraging opening to the 2017-18 Championship campaign with Aston Villa.

The Ireland international had a slow start at the Birmingham-based club, having joined them from Barnsley in last January’s transfer window, but he seems to be belatedly finding his feet in his new surroundings.

The Bandon native scored a match-winning free kick — his fifth goal of the season — as his side beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 to move up to ninth in the Championship table.

And speaking to reporters after the match, when asked about his goalscoring form, the 26-year-old gave the type of perfectionist response that would undoubtedly please his Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane.

I like to score goals and influence the game so the way it has gone so far is quietly pleasing,” he said, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail.

“To have five this early in the season is good.

But I feel I could probably have had a couple more if I am being hard on myself but five for now is not bad.”

With Scottish international Robert Snodgrass joining the club on loan back in August, Hourihane is not the only set-piece specialist in the side, meaning he can ill afford to be too wasteful given the level of competition for dead-ball duties.

Of his decisive free kick on Saturday, the former Sunderland youngster — who made his competitive international debut off the bench in Ireland’s most recent World Cup qualifier against Serbia — added:

“I said to Snoddy, there is a bit of a gap for one of us to go round.

He had one in the first half and I thought it was my turn to take it.

“You get one chance to put it away and it ended up being a goal.”

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Paul Fennessy

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