Vokes out to prove that the grass isn’t always greener

Derby County's Jason Shackell''Photographer Chris Vaughan/CameraSport''Football - The Football League Sky Bet Championship - Preston North End v Derby County - Saturday 12th September 2015 -  Deepdale - Preston''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

Derby County's Jason Shackell''Photographer Chris Vaughan/CameraSport''Football - The Football League Sky Bet Championship - Preston North End v Derby County - Saturday 12th September 2015 - Deepdale - Preston''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

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Striker Sam Vokes is determined to prove to one-time team mate Jason Shackell that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

The former Turf Moor skipper eventually sealed a move worth in excess of £3m to Derby County in the summer having spent three seasons with the Clarets.

And the pair will go head-to-head for only the second time, having spent a large chunk of their careers fighting for the same cause.

They were both at Molineux during the 2008/09 season alongside David Jones, Michael Kightly, Stephen Ward and Chris Iwelumo as Wolves won promotion to the Premier League.

And they were later reunited in the summer of 2012 as Eddie Howe acquired Shackell from the Rams before making Vokes’s move permanent 26 days later.

Ahead of the Sky televised Championship fixture at the iPro Stadium on Monday (kick off 7-45 p.m.), the Welsh international said: “We’ve got a big fixture coming up against Derby away on Sky.

“That’s a fixture that we’ll be looking at to take the confidence from the last four games into that.

“I’ll be speaking to Shacks in the week I’m sure and having a bit of banter with him.

“But away from that it’s important we keep our heads down and take our recent performances into it.

“It will be good to go up against him. He was obviously a good mate when he was here but when you step across the line it’s all professional.

“I’ve played against him before. I’ve had a few battles with him - and a few battles in training over the last few years.

“It will be nice to see him but you’re a true professional when you step over the line.”

Vokes, who played alongside goalscorer Ashley Barnes for Brighton as the Seagulls beat Shackell’s Derby 2-0 at the AMEX Stadium in March 2012, added: “Hopefully we can show that (it’s not always greener) by being higher in the league than them.

“It will be a tough game, we know that. They’ve spent a lot of money and they’ve got a strong squad.

“It’s a fixture we’re all looking forward to.”

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old feels that he’s developing a prosperous partnership with record signing Andre Gray.

Vokes’s understanding with new Liverpool frontman Danny Ings during the 2013/14 promotion season led to 47 goals in all competitions between them.

And he’s striving for similar success with the £6m former Brentford striker.

“He’s the kind of player you like to play alongside,” said Vokes, who netted a brilliant opener in the midweek victory over MK Dons.

“He’ll keep working off the shoulder and off my flicks and things like that. It looks like it’s going well at the minute.

“He looks brilliant to be fair. He had a few chances in the first half where you can see what he’s all about. He’ll tuck those away I’m sure and get the goals we need.

“He’s a great addition to the squad. He’s got that threat in behind.

“I think for Boydy’s goal he showed his pace in behind for the assist.”

He added: “He’s a real threat and showed that with his goal at the weekend.

“With his pace he’s not really the number 10 that Ingsy was, he’s an off the shoulder striker so it gives us that other outlook to play him in.

“He’s always a threat to defences. He’s shown that with his goalscoring record so he’ll keep going in behind and keep getting those chances and the goals will pay off.”

Now Vokes is looking to kick on after bagging his second goal of the season, beating David Martin with a thumping drive from outside the box.

“It was nice and good to get one from outside the box. It was a rare one for myself rather than getting on the end of crosses. I don’t normally hang around on there.

“I just let it go and it ended up going in the top bin so it was nice.

“It’s good I’m getting some starts and some minutes under my belt now so it’s nice to get that fitness back and also the goals help.”