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Vokes Ready To Test The Best

Sam Vokes sees no better way to start the season than against the champions

8 August 2017

Sam Vokes is relishing the chance to pit himself against the best when the Clarets open up against Premier League champions Chelsea.

The fixture list has given Burnley arguably the toughest start possible with a trip to face the side that won the league by seven points last season in Antonio Conte’s first year in charge.

But Vokes is undaunted by the challenge that will face the Clarets at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as Sean Dyche’s side looks to build on their own successes of last season when retaining their top-flight status.

“I feel ready and I can’t wait,” said Vokes – the Clarets’ top scorer last term with 12 goals.

“There’s no better place to go than the champions on the first day.

“It’s a great chance for us to go and show what we’re about this season and put a marker down.

“It’s going to be a tough day out, but what better time to play them?

“Coming back from pre-season we feel really fit and ready to go and I know it’s one we’re all looking forward to.

“They are a great outfit, which we saw last year, but if we can go there and give a good account of ourselves hopefully we can pick up some points.”

Sam Vokes scored five goals in the last five games of last season

Chelsea’s title success was their second in three years in a season that saw them lose just twice at home.

On Saturday they will be without Diego Costa and Eden Hazard – who scored 36 league goals between them last season – while JohnTerry and Nemanja Matic have both moved on.

But they have still managed to spend £130m on three players this summer, including Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata who missed one of the penalties as the Blues lost to Arsenal in a Community Shield spot-kick shoot-out last Sunday.

That demonstrates the gulf still apparent within the Premier League but Burnley showed last season they can compete, taking a point from Chelsea at Turf Moor and never once dropping into the bottom three on the way to a 16th-place finish.

And Vokes is looking to kick on with a squad bolstered, so far, by the extra Premier League know-how of Jon Walters, Jack Cork and Phil Bardsley.

The Wales international added: “The squad has come on leaps and bounds over the last year or so.

“We’ve got a lot more Premier League experience under our belts and to add those players to that is only going to help.

“For a club our size survival is the first thing for us, but we want to go beyond that.

“We achieved that last year, which was massive, but if we can go past that and move further up the table that would be huge.

“We haven’t set any targets in terms of points or amount of wins we want but we know we need to get in and around that survival mark.

“That’s our first goal and we’ll take anything on beyond that.”

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