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Return of Sam Vokes Will Boost Burnley’s Chances of Avoiding Relegation


Many pundits predicted that Sean Dyche’s Burnley team would be among the worst in Premier League history. Following promotion to England’s top flight, the Clarets sticked to a tried and tested (and wise) economic model, spending very little money and opting not to engage heavily in the international transfer market. So far, the club has turned heads with some excellent performances this season, most recently the come-from-behind 2-2 draw at the Etihad against Manchester City.

Still the Clarets sit in the drop zone entering the New Year. But Burnley behind Ashley Barnes and Danny Ings are proven goalscorers and matchwinners, something the other sides at the bottom don’t necessarily feature at the current time.

Of greater importance though is the imminent return to the starting eleven of Sam Vokes. The Welsh international scored 20 goals in the Championship last season but has not seen action this year due to a serious knee injury. Vokes made his Premier League debut on Boxing Day late on against Liverpool. In the next few weeks, he will work on regaining full match fitness and then could form a deadly duo once again with Ings.

Burnley’s defensive shape and structure under Dyche is far more suited for top-flight survival then they were under former managers Owen Coyle and Brian Laws in the Clarets previous Premier League stint. The defense keeps its shape well and the organization of the back four as well as the midfield are especially impressive at Turf Moor where the Clarets have shown an ability to grind out games as the season has worn on.

Many managers near the bottom of the table are under constant fire and scrutiny. This week alone we’ve seen two sackings at clubs ahead of Burnley in the table. But Dyche, who has impressed observers since arriving at Turf Moor over two years ago, is no danger of losing his job. Clarets fans who were once obsessive about stylish play and slick passing have come to appreciate the resourcefulness and pragmatism of the current Burnley boss.

The return of Vokes provides the Clarets with a major boost entering the second half of the season. Goalscoring is the key when you are mired in a relegation scrap and with Vokes, Ings and Barnes, it could be strongly argued that the Clarets have more reliable and proven goalscorers than any other side fighting the drop. That bodes well for the Lancashire club’s quest for survival.

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