By support

10th Jan, 2017 | 7:03pm

BBC journalist: This Championship duo will be hard for Aston Villa to sign, includes playmaker

By Amir Mir

Aston Villa will find it difficult to land Championship duo Conor Hourihane and James Bree, according to a reliable journalist.

BBC Midlands reporter Pat Murphy has claimed on his personal Twitter account that Villa are keen on signing the pair.

But Murphy reported they will be “hard to get” for the Midlands giants due to the level of competition from other clubs for Barnsley playmaker Hourihane and right-back Bree.

The Sun correspondent Alan Nixon revealed on his personal Twitter account on Tuesday morning that talks were well underway between Villa and Barnsley for youngster Bree.

But it is reported by Murphy that “top clubs” are after the highly-rated duo who have impressed in the Championship this season.

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Irishman Hourihane has played 23 games in the second tier this season, scoring five goals and supplying an impressive 12 assists.

Meanwhile, his teammate, at the age of 19, has played 17 games in the Championship, providing two assists and helping his team secure seven clean sheets.

Both Hourihane and Bree’s contract run out at Oakwell in the summer as manager Steve Bruce will be looking to add to his squad this January.

Villa’s current midfield consists of Ashley Westwood, Gary Gardner, Aaron Tshibola and Mile Jedinak – all of whom have scored two goals between them this term.

Right-back Hutton is first choice at the club but his contract at Villa Park is set to expire in the summer.

Football Insider verdict:

It would be a body blow to Steve Bruce and Aston Villa if they are not able to land their respective targets and this talented duo. Despite Nottingham Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury set to sign, Villa still needs to add more strength and creativity to the middle of the park. Hourihane fits that bill perfectly. Additionally, losing out on right-back Bree to a top side would set the club back as Alan Hutton needs someone to challenge him for a first team spot. All in all, Villa must do everything in their power to ensure that this highly-rated duo sign and they are not left disappointed come the end of the January transfer window. 

In other Aston Villa transfer news, this £24,000-a-week player is in reported talks with this European giant.

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