By Amir Mir

Aston Villa are keeping close tabs on the newly-crowned Championship player of the month Conor Hourihane, according to a report.

The Birmingham Mail, citing the paper edition of the Irish Sun, state that Villa have joined Rangers, Celtic and Wigan in the race to sign the creative midfielder.

The 25-year-old has been in outstanding form for Paul Heckingbottom’s side this season, with two goals and five assists in six games, as the Championship new boys sit in third with 12 points.

It is said the Tykes captain was an integral figure in the Yorkshire club winning promotion via the play-offs last season and the club are braced for offers for his services in January.

Hourihane began his career at Sunderland before he made a name for himself at Plymouth Argyle in League Two, where he scored 16 goals and provided seven assists in 141 games.

The Irish born midfielder then moved to Barnsley, where he has so far scored 27 goals and provided 38 assists in 113 appearances and won promotion to the second-tier in the process.

Villa signed nine players during the summer transfer window, including breaking the Championship record on two occasions for £12 million forward Ross McCormack and then £15 million on Jonathan Kodjia.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, owner Tony Xia seals a mega-money deal, as he makes this Twitter admission.