By Wayne Veysey

16th Nov, 2021 | 8:00am

Sources: Smith plotting to lure Aston Villa star Hourihane to Norwich in January

Dean Smith is plotting a Norwich City reunion with Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane in January, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

Smith was appointed the new Norwich manager on Monday, just eight days after he was sacked by Villa.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Smith wants to make Hourihane, 30, one of his first signings in the upcoming window.

The versatile midfielder, 30, is currently on a season-long loan at Championship club Sheffield United.

But he has struggled for game time at Bramall Lane and has started just two league matches for them this term.

That has opened the door to the possibility of Villa recalling the Republic of Ireland international in the January window and agreeing a new loan.

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Hourihane is out of contract at his parent club next summer and is not expected to secure a new deal.

He had slipped down the pecking order under Smith at Villa Park last season following huge investment in the playing squad.

Hourihane had been an integral player in the manager’s first two season’s at Villa Park before dropping to the fringes ahead of joining Swansea City in the second half of last season.

The left-footed midfielder was a key player for the Swans as they narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League.

But he has been an unused sub for the last four league matches at Sheffield United and has just two starts among seven appearances for his loan club.

In other news, Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard tipped to have struck “clever” transfer January agreement with Rangers board.