Reds owner Patrick Cryne has said that captain Hourihane, and star striker Sam Winnall, are both unwilling to sign new contracts. The 25-year-old Irish midfielder told the Chronicle: "I have got a year left on my contract and there's no rush to do anything or sign anything. I am sure that, during the year, myself and the club will keep talking and keep each other informed on what is going to happen.

"I am not ruling out staying at Barnsley whatsoever.  Who knows what will happen this season? Who knows how I will play and how the team will do?

"We are only one league away from the Premier League and I have aspirations to play as high as I can. Whether that is with Barnsley or not remains to be seen but I have got a year left and I am looking forward to another year with Barnsley."

There has been interest from other clubs in 25-year-old midfielder Hourihane this summer but no official bids. He said: "I was always going to stay here this summer, without a doubt. Being captain of the club going into the Championship season is something I am really excited about and something I didn't want to miss.

Barnsley have served me well, I feel I have served them well and I am just looking to continue the relationship."

Hourihane hopes the promotion to the Championship will bring him closer to a Republic of Ireland call-up.

"It's something that is in the back of my mind but, first and foremost, I have to play consistently well for Barnsley to achieve that. People said I might get called up last season but I knew I would have to be in the Championship.

"It's exciting and you want to test yourself against the best players possible. There are some well-known clubs and players in this division but we are confident. There's a great bond in our team. How could there not be with what we did last year? That will stand us in good stead and bring us a long way. There will be some ups and downs but we will need to take the rough with the smooth and we will be alright."