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Vokes Has Everton In His Sights Again

12 April 2017

Sam Vokes is looking forward to facing Everton again this weekend after his goal helped beat the Merseysiders in a key Turf Moor win.

The Welsh international’s first-half strike set up a 2-1 victory over Everton back in October.

Scott Arfield’s injury-time finish then secured the Clarets’ third home win of the season, after Yannick Bolasie had equalised for the visitors.

Sean Dyche’s side has since kicked on to take that total to 10 as they look to cement their place in the Premier League.

And Vokes believes Arfield’s dramatic winner was one of the catalysts for the Clarets’ impressive performances in front of their own fans as he prepares to tackle the Toffees again.

“It was a big win for us earlier in the season,” he said.

“We lost at home on the first day of the season, so that was quite a wake-up call for us. After that, we beat the likes of Everton and Liverpool, so those results spurred us on at home to get on the run we have done.

“Everton themselves are a strong unit and a big team in this league, so for us we need to take confidence from games like that into the weekend.” 

Sam Vokes' goal against Everton came in a burst of three in four games for the striker

Everton have also demonstrated the benefits of making a home ground a fortress. Seven straight wins at Goodison Park have propelled Ronald Koeman’s men to seventh in the league, and a chance to compete in next season’s Europa League.

The Clarets are still looking for their first win away from home, but Vokes says the players are doing everything to end that run before the season ends after making themselves much harder to beat on their travels with three draws from their last five away games.

“It’s important that we just focus on ourselves,” he insists.

“The last couple of results and performances have been very good for us so we can take great confidence into the game on Saturday.

“We put an expectancy on ourselves, the lads in the dressing room are desperate to get that away win. It’s something we don’t want to hang over us all season.”

Despite their winless away record - and a recent run of seven games without a win - Burnley have always had enough in hand to stay clear of the relegation dogfight.

And last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough extended the gap above the bottom three to eight points as the Clarets’ belief continues to pay off.

“We’ve probably had a few runs where we haven’t picked up the right results, and people start asking questions,” Vokes added.

Scott Arfield's goal gave Burnley their first Premier League win over Everton

“We had a meeting in here and with 10 games to go, the gaffer said, ‘don’t listen to the noise outside the club’ because we fully believe in what we do here. 

“With that mentality, we’ve managed to pick up the results to pull away, but we know there’s still a job to be done.

“We know we’re not safe yet, so we do need to get those points on the board.”

After just one defeat in their last four games, Burnley now find themselves on the brink of a top-half finish in the Premier League, sitting only one point behind 10th-placed Watford, who have a game in hand.

And Vokes puts the success down to their previous experience of relegation and promotion as a closely-knit squad.

He also praised the calibre of player that Dyche has been able to bring to the club, following the Championship title-winning campaign from last year.

“The core of the squad and a lot of the other lads have played Premier League football, compared to the last time we got promoted, it was new to us all,” Vokes said.

“This time around, a lot of experience on and off the pitch in how to deal with situations has been key for us.

“Some of the signings the gaffer has brought in have been massive. Looking at the squad now, the 18 to 23 lads we’ve got pushing for places is a lot stronger than last time.”

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