Suzanne Geldard: Vokes moves out of Austin’s shadow
“GENERAL Hindsight never lost a battle,” is a favoured saying of former Burnley chairman Barry Kilby.
Naturally, it would often crop up in a conversation about things that might have been done differently had they had their time again.
But perhaps the summer transfer of Charlie Austin is not one of them.
On paper, it would seem madness to be willing to part with a 28-goal top scorer.
But in terms of the team as a whole selling Austin could, in hindsight, be the best thing that happened to Burnley this season.
It is certainly the best thing to happen to Sam Vokes.
The Wales international was confined largely to the bench and cameo appearances after a first campaign as a full-time Claret.
He left an indelible mark on it nevertheless, with an equalising goal on derby day at Turf Moor.
But he always knew he was capable of more, and Austin’s exit paved the way to prove it. Vokes has gone from fringe forward to ever present front man and heads into Saturday’s game at Yeovil Town one goal away from matching a career-best tally of 12, with 22 Championship games still to go, having earned and signed a new deal until 2017.
Unlike your textbook target man, there is more to the former Bournemouth and Wolves striker than the big ‘brute’ up front.
His footwork belies a player of his imposing frame – neat and elegant, his vision and spacial awareness are impeccable, he has learnt to use his physique to fashion chances and he is building a repertoire of goals to become one half of the most exciting strike partnerships in the Championship with top scorer Danny Ings.
There were signs of its potential last season, when Austin was injured.
But that potential might never have been fulfilled had Austin stayed.
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