Aston Villa manager Dean Smith

Conor Hourihane will be “very excited” at the prospect of leaving Aston Villa on loan this month, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker insisted the Republic of Ireland international is too good a player to be sitting on the Villans’ bench for the second half of the season.

As revealed by Football Insider, Swansea City are working on a loan deal for the midfielder as the Championship outfit look to add proven pedigree to boost their promotion hopes this season.

This site detailed how Villa are considering letting the 29-year-old leave the club, likely on a temporary deal, before the end of the January window.

Hourihane has played just five times across all competitions this campaign and has not featured in the Premier League since late November.

Whelan has insisted Swansea – or any other Championship club – would be signing an excellent player in the shape of the midfielder and that the former Barnsley man would be buzzing at the prospect of regular first-team football.

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Whelan told Football Insider: “He’s a very good player but the thing is he’s down the pecking order because of the quality that Aston Villa brought in.

“There’s absolutely no doubt, he’s still a really good age, he’s got the quality to go and improve a team and you’re looking at Swansea now, they, to me, the way they play the game would suit him down to the ground.

“They’re very attacking, they get the ball on the floor, especially the way he wants it, he’s got a great eye for a goal, he’s got a good set-piece in him and he’s got that experience in there as well which is really critical at this time of the season for any Championship club.

“I think he will be in good demand and I’m sure that he’ll be very excited about getting game time as well and playing regularly because he needs that. A quality player can’t be sitting on the bench, just watching games all the time.

“Swansea realise that and are looking to improve their squad and there’s absolutely no doubt, in my opinion, if he goes there he’ll create, he’ll score and he’ll be a top player.”

In other news, three big clubs make approach to sign Aston Villa star Smith is ready to let go.