Player of the month Sam Vokes ready to end derby hoodoo
PLAYER of the month Sam Vokes wants to cap his best season by ending Burnley’s derby hoodoo.
The Clarets’ striker goes into the weekend clash at Ewood Park having taken his tally for the campaign to 19 goals with a strike in Wales’ 3-1 win over Iceland on Wednesday.
Now he has set his sights on reaching the magical 20-goal in Sunday’s showdown with the old enemy.
Vokes, who scooped the Championship’s February player prize for his five-goal haul, has already experienced the sensation of scoring in such an emotionally charged game.
The former Bournemouth striker had only been on the Turf Moor pitch for three minutes when he fired in a late equaliser in the first of last season’s derby encounters.
In cancelling out Jordan Rhodes’ 68th minute opener, Vokes immediately etched his name into Burnley folklore.
But he aims to go one better this time.
“Last year my chances were limited in the side so getting the goal against Blackburn was massive,” said the 24-year-old.
“We were pushing forward late on and chasing it.
“It was a great feeling to score but it would be nice to top that with the winner this time.
“The derby game is a big one for the boys and the fans, and everyone.”
Strike partner Danny Ings is also vying for derby goal honours, and together they have contributed 34 league goals between them – 42 in total – to put the Clarets in a favourable position for promotion.
Vokes, with 16, is just two behind top scorer Ings for Championship goals, leading him to earn a contract extension to the summer of 2017.
But he always believed he was capable of such a strong season, given the chance.
“Something I’ve always wanted is to get a run in the team and get those goals,” said Vokes.
“I knew I could do it if I got the chance. It’s great that the gaffer did and I hope I’ve repaid him.”
Vokes held off competition from Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson to win the player of the month title as well as Leeds striker Ross McCormack and Derby County left back Craig Forsyth.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche missed out on being named manager of the month despite the Clarets being unbeaten in February with Wigan Athletic manager Uwe Rosler claiming the honours.
Dyche’s side collected 11 points from the month but Wigan picked up one more point to charge into the play-off places.
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