SEAN Dyche has labelled Sam Vokes as a “shining light” for the Clarets this season, and praised the striker for taking his game onto another level.
The 24-year-old grabbed his 16th goal of the season to clinch a derby win for Burnley at Bolton – their first away win against the Trotters in almost 30 years.
Vokes is eight goals behind leading scorer Danny Ings in their now 40-goal partnership.
But Dyche insists the impact the Wales international has made this season cannot be underestimated.
“I think he’s had a massive shift in the type of person he is, in the sense of his professional person that is, and how he goes about his business.
“He’s getting the rewards, the team are getting the rewards,” said Dyche.
“There has been a lot of talk about our other players, but I think he’s been absolutely outstanding, the way he’s developed this season as a player is miraculous.
“I told him that I’ve enjoyed that, I’ve enjoyed the development that myself and the coaches put into the players.
“Now and again you get a real shining light. I think there has been loads of movement in the players’ mentality, the way they go about their business, and he is one of the shining lights of that. He was outstanding again (against Bolton).”
Vokes largely had to settle for appearances from the bench last season, as Charlie Austin led the way up front. There were hints of a prospective partnership between Ings and Vokes last season, when Austin was sidelined through injury.
But the top scorer’s summer exit, following Martin Paterson’s departure on a free transfer, paved the way for Vokes to fulfil that potential, both individually and as a double-act.
“I think he’s realised that he’s got more to offer than he was offering previously,” said Dyche.
“I’ve made it clear to him he has a home here. I really valued what he was about last season and I said ‘there are a few twists and turns and little things we can add to what your game is, and it’s you taking ownership of it.’ “He’s absolutely taken on what we’ve offered him, and what we think is important for him to improve.
“It’s always down to the players.
“Me and my staff guide them with the information we think is important to them, but it’s always down to the players.
“If they grip it, take ownership of it, you can see what can happen.”