RECENT SHEFFIELD United addition Conor Hourihane has revealed that his connections with South Yorkshire and the presence of a number of international team-mates has allowed him to settle at Bramall Lane in double-quick time.
The one-time Barnsley captain, 30 joined the club at the end of last month on a season-long loan from Aston Villa and links up with several Republic of Ireland colleagues including John Egan, David McGoldrick and Enda Stevens.
Hourihane also previously worked under Blades under-23 lead coach Paul Heckingbottom when he was manager at Oakwell, a time when the Cork-born midfielder also lived in Sheffield.
The loanee, speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Championship home game with Preston, said: “I am no stranger to this area of the world and I lived in Sheffield for three-odd years when I was at Barnsley, so I know the area and John and Hecky and a few staff members as well behind the scenes and in the gym.
“There’s a physio I know from Barnsley as well and there’s a lot of friendly faces and there’s also Dave McGoldrick and Enda Stevens, so it was an easy fit and it has been really easy knowing the city and not having the sat-nav on wherever I go.”
On his on-pitch mission at United, he added: “I have been very fortunate in being involved over the last few years at Aston Villa in that we have won the majority of the games we have been involved in, in getting promoted and starting up in the Premier League and (also) winning quite a few games at Swansea.
“Hopefully, I can bring that little bit of confidence and experience into the squad. We started off well on Saturday and long may that continue.”
Another player aiming to make his mark with the Blades is defender Ben Davies, who is back in the mix for the game with former club Preston.
Davies has featured just twice so far for the Blades, but manager Slavisa Jokanovic has already been impressed by his character and is backing him to make an impact in his time with the club.
On Davies, who joined on loan for the season from Liverpool, where he headed in a surprise move last January, Jokanovic said: “Ben is an excellent player at this level.
“After a few days from when he started working with us, he has played very good football, but had soreness after the Luton game. But he will be an option to play the games and he can help us.
“His personality is calm and sometimes he is a little bit cold, but I don’t use it as a wrong word. He can do a good, normal job when he plays with us and will not do strange things. He will be important for us.”