Barnsley track Leeds United midfielder Alex Mowatt as replacement for Conor Hourihane

Alex Mowatt has fallen out of favour under Garry Monk this season
Alex Mowatt has fallen out of favour under Garry Monk this season
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Barnsley are interested in Leeds United midfielder Alex Mowatt, the YEP understands.

The South Yorkshire club have targeted Mowatt as part of a wider rebuilding process following a spate of departures from Oakwell.

Mowatt scored for Leeds against Cambridge United in the FA Cup third round

Mowatt scored for Leeds against Cambridge United in the FA Cup third round

Barnsley lost striker Sam Winnall to Sheffield Wednesday in the first fortnight of the January transfer window and midfielder Conor Hourihane and defender James Bree have both joined Aston Villa since Leeds’ 3-2 defeat at Oakwell last Saturday.

United head coach Garry Monk said at the start of this month that no members of his senior squad would leave before the window closed and Mowatt has played 20 times this season, despite occupying a relatively peripheral role.

Mowatt, however, has little over six months left on his contract and discussions with the club have so far failed to lead to an extension of that deal.

The 22-year-old - Leeds’ player of the year in 2014-15 - would be available on a free transfer in July if United fail to offer him a new contract which matches his current salary.

Sources close to Mowatt have told the YEP that Barnsley are considering delaying their move until the summer with a view to tying him to a three-year deal then but the club’s boss, Paul Heckingbottom, needs immediate recruits in the wake of the recent exodus of players.

Mowatt was United’s Under-18s captain before breaking into their first team under former manager Brian McDermott in 2013.

He is the leading appearance-maker in Monk’s squad with 125 to his name, his most recent as a substitute in last night’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

He claimed his first goal in 14 months in Leeds’ FA Cup victory at Cambridge United on January 9 and insisted afterwards that he was keen to remain at Elland Road, saying: “I’m enjoying it at Leeds. It’s the only place I know where to play.”

United have sanctioned two departures so far this month, allowing Luke Murphy to join Burton Albion on loan and sending Toumani Diagouraga to Ipswich Town on a temporary basis.

Neither player was part of Monk’s plans and both had been training with Leeds’ development squad.

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