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Quality and Quantity Key For Vokes

Striker welcomes added competition as he hopes to keep on scoring

25 October 2018

Sam Vokes believes the return of key men will help drive the Clarets forward as they look to maintain their Premier League progress.

Steven Defour’s comeback at Manchester City last weekend ended a nine-month absence from top-flight football for the Clarets’ play-maker.

Wingman Robbie Brady may follow him back into the match-day squad against Chelsea on Sunday, while summer signing Ben Gibson is nearing his own return from injury.

And Vokes expects their availability to make a major difference.

“Injuries hit any squad, but to have key players like that out, and a new signing who wants to get started and get the ball rolling, is obviously hard,” said the Clarets’ frontman.

“With a fully fit squad, the competition has never been higher.

“It’s a club on the rise and that brings its challenges for the players with competition for places.

“But that’s what you want as a squad, to have that competition and people fighting for spots.”

Defour and Brady played big roles as the Clarets made a flying start to last season, laying the foundations for their seventh-place finish before both required knee surgery a month-and-a-half apart.

And their returns have been eagerly awaited followed a tough start this time around.

“It’s great to see Steve back,” added Vokes. “He’s been a huge player for us over the last few years and I think we’ve missed him.

“He had some hard luck with that injury and to see him back playing in the Premier League is definitely good news.

“Robbie has done well for us in the past, as well, and had that terrible injury last Christmas time.

“Seeing him back on the training pitch is brilliant and Gibbo as well. He came in the summer, played a couple of games, but due to injury had to miss a large chunk of the season so far.

“So, it'll be good to have him back and those two lads will just add to the competition in the squad at the minute.”

Vokes’ own position is being fiercely fought over with a number of striking options at manager Sean Dyche’s disposal.

But, as of last Saturday, the Wales international was the man in possession of a starting number up front after his two goals helped pull in seven points from three games ahead of the loss to the league leaders.

And he hopes his run continues, with the visit of Chelsea re-kindling memories of one of his finest hours as a Burnley player – a two-goal salvo setting up a famous win at the home of the champions on the opening day of last season.

“At half time, you’re 3-0 up at Stamford Bridge and you’re kind of pinching yourself,” Vokes recalled.

“In the second half it was a case of keeping the lead and we managed to win 3-2. It was a great afternoon, one of my favourites in a Burnley shirt, definitely.

“I feel good. As a striker you want to get on the scoresheet as early as possible into the season and for me breaking into the team and getting a couple of goals in the last few games has been great. I’ll be looking to build on it now.”

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