Willie Irvine: Hard work paying off for striker Vokes

Sam Vokes

Sam Vokes

First published in Sport

SAM Vokes has hit the 20-goal mark, and for Burnley it rolled back the years to 1965/66.

That was the season that myself and Andy Lochhead both got up to, and beyond, what is seen as a landmark figure for strikers.

It was the last time that two Clarets achieved it in the same season. Until now. We have a new generation of attacking talent in Sam and Danny Ings.

But there are similarities to the strikeforce that myself and the Bald Eagle (Lochhead) enjoyed.

We are so alike, in fact, that I feel like I’m living it all over again, with Sam unsettling defences and Danny feeding off the crumbs, like I did with Andy.

Now we have Ashley Barnes added into the mix. It pleases me that he looks to have settled into the side and he got off the mark with a powerful header to set us on our way to a comfortable win against Charlton.

Playing alongside Sam will give Barnes confidence. The Wales international has blossomed into a very formidable striker and targetman, and I’m sure come the season’s end that player of the year award could well be his.

I’m sure Danny would be the first to appreciate how hard Sam is working for him and the team.

With Ashley getting that first goal at Charlton it makes up for the loss of Danny and makes for good competition up front.

The story goes if your strikers are scoring week in, week out the club benefits by being successful.

In truth, all the players are working hard for each other to keep those automatic promotion hopes looking more a reality.

Leicester City will be looking over their shoulder, hopefully more so than ever by the end of Saturday’s top two clash.

We are almost over the line, and while there is still a chance that the title could be up for grabs, I’d happily take the runners-up spot.

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