MATTY Wolfe used to idolise former Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane but is hoping to win a midfield battle against him on Sunday.

Wolfe, 22, was in the Oakwell academy when Derby County’s Hourihane played for the Reds from 2014 from 2017.

They could now face each other in an FA Cup third round match in Derby.

Wolfe told the Chronicle: “I definitely looked up to him. I remember the free-kick against Leeds at Oakwell.

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“I used to watch him in training and learn from that.

“I trained against him a couple of times when I was 16 or 17 but I was too nervous to go up and speak to him.

“He’s a great footballer. It would be nice to hopefully go up against him.

“It will be a big test for us all and hopefully we can prove we can do well against these players.”

Wolfe has never played in the FA Cup before, having been injured for Barnsley’s last three ties while his loan club Notts County pulled out of the competition in 2020 due to Covid-19 cases.

“It would be nice to get some minutes in the FA Cup.

“Anything can happen in the FA Cup.

“I hope we can through and get a big club. We played Leeds at Elland Road this season (in the EFL Cup) and that was great.”

Wolfe returned from injury last month and played in the last three games, with Josh Benson and Adam Phillips both having injury problems. He broke into the team last season with 16 appearances and has added 13 this campaign.

“It’s very competitive. I just have to be happy that I am involved. I can’t dwell on how many minutes I am getting. It’s just about the team and winning games.

“I want to push on and play more. But I don’t want this season to be ‘me me me’ and wondering why I am not playing.

“I just want to help the team.

“There is plenty more to come from me. Following last season I wanted to play more, but that’s football.

“I will keep working hard and hopefully get rewarded.”

What does head coach Michael Duff want Wolfe to work on?

The midfielder said: “Sometimes I am a bit daydreamy.

“I will stand and watch a long ball.

“He wants me to get back in and look more energetic. I am trying to do that in games and training.”

Wolfe started the 3-0 home loss to Bolton Wanderers on Monday, which saw captain Mads Andersen concede a penalty and be sent off in the 11th minute.

The Reds were pleased with the character they showed after that despite their seven-match unbeaten league run coming to an end. Wolfe said: “We didn’t roll over or accept, after the red card, that we were dead and buried.

“We conceded a second goal to a mistake but you can’t fault our effort.”

Wolfe said on Andersen: “I remember when he first signed and he made a few mistakes, then got sent home to have time off. Ever since then he’s been a different breed. He’s a leader and a great player for us.”