Conor Hourihane keen to add finishing touch to game
MIDFIELDER Conor Hourihane is set to make his 50th appearance for Argyle when they play third-placed Port Vale at Home Park tomorrow.
Hourihane (right) has been pleased with the amount of first team football he has had since arriving from Championship club Ipswich Town at the start of last season.
But the 21-year-old admitted he wanted to improve on his goalscoring record for the Pilgrims.
Hourihane has netted only twice, with the last one coming in a 1-1 draw away to Macclesfield Town at the end of February.
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The Irish midfielder, who has made 43 starts in his 49 appearances for Argyle and has been an ever present this season, did not realise he was so close to reaching his half-century.
"I'm actually quite surprised at that," Hourihane told Herald Sport. "It's nice to know, but it has come up quick. I have only been here for a year.
"Hopefully we get a win, first and foremost. If I put in a good performance that's a plus, and if I get on the scoresheet that's an even bigger plus."
Hourihane signed for Argyle last summer after spending time at Ipswich and Sunderland but without getting any first team football for either.
He said: "I was 20-years-old and I thought I needed to be playing. I got an opportunity to come here and to play as many games as I did last season was terrific.
"If I could play the same amount this season it would be a big bonus. I would have 80-90 games in two years."
So what has Hourihane learned from playing for the Pilgrims – initially under the management of Peter Reid and now Carl Fletcher?
He said: "You just get more experienced. You read the game a bit better, and I think I have definitely toughened up a bit this season.
"I'm getting in positions to score goals. I just feel more confident when I'm playing. I think that comes with games.
"It's going well and, hopefully, it will stay like that," he added.
Not only is Hourihane enjoying his football for Argyle, he also likes the lifestyle away from Home Park.
He said: "Especially when the weather is nice, it's lovely in Plymouth. When you are out and about in town people come up to you and talk about Argyle, which is great.
"You can see how much Argyle means to the community. It's a massive club for League Two and the fans we get at home and away are terrific."
Hourihane had good some scoring chances in Argyle's 0-0 draw at Torquay United last weekend, as well as in the 3-2 victory over Northampton Town at Home Park the previous Saturday, but is still waiting for his first goal of the campaign.
Hourihane said: "I got two last year, and I'm aiming for five this season. Anything after that is a bonus."
The Cork-born midfielder has been getting into excellent shooting positions inside the opposition penalty area but the finishing touch has eluded him so far.
Hourihane said: "I have had more chances this season than I had all last year.
"It's just trying to get that first one, and then I think I will get another couple.
"If I wasn't getting into the positions I would be worrying. I just need to strike it a bit better and relax.
"I get a bit anxious because I think 'here it is, here it is'. Hopefully, the first one will come in the next couple of games and then I can move on from there."
Hourihane wants to see Argyle build on 'a good solid performance' against Torquay when they play in-form Port Vale.
The visitors are coming off a stunning 6-2 home drubbing of title favourites Rotherham United last Saturday.
Hourihane said: "They have had a good start. They scored six last weekend but, hopefully, the goals will dry up tomorrow.
"We are playing well now so we definitely fancy our chances."