Sam Vokes hoping to force starting position

OFF THE MARK: Sam Vokes celebrates his equaliser at Ipswich
OFF THE MARK: Sam Vokes celebrates his equaliser at Ipswich
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CLARETS striker Sam Vokes is hoping to find the form that will force new boss Sean Dyche’s hand in awarding him a starting berth.

The 23-year-old has made just two starts to date this term, at Middlesbrough and Huddersfield, and 16 substitute appearances in all competitions, including three outings from the bench since the former Watford boss’ tenure began.

But the nomadic hitman feels he may be edging closer to a place in the starting XI after breaking his duck in his second spell at the club. “I think I’m pushing closer,” he declared. “Obviously Charlie (Austin) is doing fantastically, he’s scoring goals every week, so it’s a tough position to break into but the couple of times I’ve come on we’ve worked well up front together. Hopefully we’ll get that chance.

“It’s been very frustrating. I’ve come off the bench a few times and had a chance right at the end against Wolves but when you’re not in a rich vein of form they sometimes don’t drop for you. It’s a fair fight, of course. Obviously different formations we play suit different players. I’m just trying to impress the new manager in training and in games when I come on and hopefully that will lead to a starting place.”

Vokes, who scored in the 4-0 triumph over the Tractor Boys at Turf Moor last season while on loan, opened his account for the new campaign when powering a header beyond Stephen Henderson from an enticing Junior Stanislas cross in the 80th minute at Portman Road. Replays suggested that Danny Higginbotham applied the vital touch but Vokes is certainly taking the credit while vowing to push on and increase his tally to lessen the load of prolific strike partner Charlie Austin.

“For me, if you’re not starting you’ve got to make a big impact when you come on,” he said. “I was in the box, Junior put a great cross in and I managed to get a little nick on it. I think he (Higginbotham) guided it in, but I’ll take that as my first one.

“It’s massive to get on the scoresheet and get off the mark. I’ll try and kick on from here and try to get a few more and break in to the side. I want to get a run of games under my belt. Hopefully I can turn that corner and get a few more now.

“It’s taking some weight off his (Austin’s) shoulders. It’s my job as well to contribute so it would be good to get a few more after this.”

The much-travelled marksman has worked under a number of managers, including new Town boss Mick McCarthy, during his career, and he was full of enthusiasm and praise for the start that boss number nine has made after taking six points from three fixtures.

“It’s been going good, it’s been a very good week,” beamed Vokes. “We’re all working hard in training, the lads are looking sharp and fit, and we’ve picked up two very good wins against two top sides in this league. I think that will stand us in good stead to push on.

“He’s brought a lot of competitiveness and I think the work rate of the team has been upped. We seem to be pressing harder up the pitch and working teams hard and putting a lot of pressure on the ball so I think he’s instilled that work ethic in to the lads and it’s showing.

“He’s a strong character in the changing room and I think that’s what we needed - a leader almost. He’s worked well for us so far.”

Vokes added: “You get used to it and adapt to it. Eddie (Howe) brought me in but I’ve worked under a number of managers in the past so it’s just one of those things in football - people move on. The new manager has had a fantastic start for us and the lads are working hard for him.

“Hopefully it won’t be a new manager scenario where we get the first couple of results. I don’t think that will happen because we’re all willing to work hard. And I don’t think he will let it happen. He’s a strong character.”

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