Barnsley v Fleetwood: Hourihane now a marked man

Barnsley's Conor Hourihane (Picture: Tony Johnson).
Barnsley's Conor Hourihane (Picture: Tony Johnson).
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Barnsley assistant manager Chris Hutchings fears Conor Hourihane has been a victim of his own success, but is confident the attacking midfielder can rediscover his scoring touch.

The 24-year-old from Ireland looked the marquee signing by Reds boss Danny Wilson among a clutch of fresh recruits during the close season.

Hourihane, signed from League Two Plymouth Argyle, scored nine goals in the first three months of the season, but has hit the target only twice in the last 15 games.

He was dropped to the bench on Saturday for the trip to Swindon before coming on after half-time.

Hutchings, whose Barnsley side welcome Fleetwood to Oakwell for the first time, said: “You have to remember he scored a lot of goals early on in the season so the opposition are taking him a lot more seriously and marking him a lot tighter.

“I’m sure that at the start of the season if you’d have told him he’d get 10 to 12 goals all term he’d have been happy with that. So to have got that halfway through the season is a big bonus for us, but he needs to continue that.

“Conor knows he’s got to focus and hopefully he’ll get back on the scoresheet.”

Meanwhile, 18-year-old full-back George Smith has signed a contract extension at Oakwell.

Last six games: Barnsley WLLWWL, Fleetwood DWLWLD.

Referee: D Coote (West Yorkshire).

Last time: Fleetwood 0 Barnsley 0; September 17, 2014; League One.