By Matt Farr

One innovative Barnsley fan has made a hilarious last-ditch effort to help his club keep hold of star midfielder Conor Hourihane.

The 25-year-old has delivered a midfield masterclass in the Championship this season, contributing six goals and 12 assists from 25 league appearances.

However, the Republic of Ireland ace is reported to be closing in on a move to league rivals Aston Villa, and a deal looks set to be completed this week.

The Sun claimed on Tuesday morning that the two clubs were still thrashing out the payment arrangement for Hourihane, but that a £2.5milion fee had been agreed.

He is a much-adored talent with the fans at Oakwell, and as Villa close in on their most-prized asset, one member of the Barnsley faithful has made a bold attempt to derail the sale.

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Barnsley supporter Matty Dobbo has created a petition on change.org to make Hourihane’s sale to Aston Villa illegal – or to any other club for that matter.

The petition reads: “Numerous bids have been rumoured to be thrown about for Barnsley’s star man and captain fantastic Conor Hourihane.

“We CAN NOT allow this to happen! This petition calls on HM government to make it ILLEGAL for Barnsley FC to sell Conor Hourihane to any other football club for any fee.”

At the time of writing 621 fans had signed the petition, although this leaves it 383 signatures short of its required 1000 to be taken into consideration. It states that the petition will sent to both the British government and Barnsley owner Patrick Cryne.

It is certainly a bold move, but one that doesn’t look likely to work as it looks almost certain that Hourihane will be joining Villa. Still, you can’t blame him for trying.

The Sun also report that Aston Villa are also in negotiations to sign right-back James Bree from Barnsley this month, and are expected to complete his deal alongside Hourihane in the next few days.

There is, however, no fan petition protesting the sale of Bree. Both players are out of contract in the summer.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, Sheffield Wednesday are now the favourites to land this long-term Aston Villa target.

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