SAM Vokes declared Burnley’s win over ambitious Nottingham Forest a statement of their promotion credentials.
The striker scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season as Billy Davies’ side were beaten 3-1, extending the Clarets’ recent unbeaten Championship run to 10 games and maintaining a two-point gap in second.
The Forest boss bemoaned a mounting injury list after losing for the first time in 15 games.
But with manager Sean Dyche highlighting the strength and depth of his first club’s squad, Vokes said the success should not be underestimated.
“We said if we could put in a performance and get a result it would put a big statement to the league and show what we’re about. I think we’ve done that,” said the striker, whose brace handed Burnley a 3-0 half-time lead after Scott Arfield capitalised on a bright start with his first goal of the calendar year and seventh of the season.
"We came out flying. It helped us that we started on the front foot and maybe got into them early and it went on from there really.
"It was important that we started strong because they're a strong side, they've been on a run recently and for us to get in their face and early doors and put pressure on them helped."
Djamel Abdoun pulled a goal back with a header after having his initial penalty saved, following Michael Duff's foul on substitute Simon Cox in the 80th minute.
But Burnley showed their Turf Moor tenacity to stretch their unbeaten home run to 20 league games, ahead of next Saturday's visit of third placed Derby County.
"We're taking a lot of confidence from these home performances into the next one, and we've got another important one where we can start again like we did on Saturday," said Vokes, who said it was too early to consider it a two-horse race for second spot, despite QPR's last minute defeat at Charlton.
"There are strong sides and we've seen anything can happen in this league so for us it's just concentrating on our own performances - especially next week there's a big one coming up."
After that it's the derby at Ewood Park, and Vokes - last season's derby hero at Turf Moor - added: "We took seven points from three important games last week and we knew going into the next three that they were going to be just as important.
"For us to start with a big three points is massive for us."