Jumping on the Vokes Wagon?
Vital Burnley brought you rumours early on Friday that according to both the Daily Mail and Daily Express. Burnley had already signed striker, Sam Vokes on loan from Wolves despite their being no official announcement by the club.
Well later in the day, with most Clarets fans heading home from work for the weekend, it was finally announced by the club that it was indeed a done deal. The 22 year old Welsh international striker would now be a Clarets player at least until the 15th January after agreeing the loan move.
The striker would wear the Number 19 shirt and would be available if required to play in Saturday`s game at home to Leeds.
We all now know what happened with Sam Vokes named on the bench and coming on after just 30 minutes to replace the injured Charlie Austin who had to be stretchered-off after yet again dislocating his shoulder following a bad fall.
In the end it was a good solid debut by Vokes without being spectacular but either way he now looks certain to be a more regular starter in the team following the injury to Austin.
With the benefit of hindsight of course, Howe now looks to have been vindicated in deciding to strengthen the attack despite most Clarets fans as top priority agitating for improvements to the back-four. Howe though unless he had some sort of premonition could not have foreseen the Austin tragedy so what was his thinking behind the move for Vokes?
Clarets fans of course feared that the signing may have been a contingency with fears that one of our main strikers could be sold in the January transfer window. Jay Rodriguez was the main concern of course following interest from Southampton and some Premier League clubs in the summer. But would Charlie Austin, our leading goal scorer with 9 goals so far this season (eight of them in the Championship) not also attract potential interest from high-spending, high-ambition clubs? Would the Clarets, clearly in a pickle following this week`s announced £4 million loss in the last financial year be able to resist such offers even if that decimated our chances of survival let alone promotion? In a bizarre twist, Austin`s injury may well now keep the wolves at bay since he faces a potential long lay-off but even so we do seem to still have a rich seam of strikers waiting in the wings casting doubt on why we needed to bring Vokes to the club.
In terms of fit strikers at the moment in addition to Vokes, we currently have Jay Rodriguez, Zavon Hines, Alex MacDonald and Wes Fletcher.
Martin Paterson is also not too far off making a return and looks set to be ready for first team action again in the early New Year. He too though has been linked with interest from other clubs including Portsmouth under Steve Cotterill. Cotterill has since of course left for Forest and it will be interesting to see if he also sees a role for Pato at the City Ground.
Let`s also not forget 19 year old striker, Danny Ings who is also on the road to recovery after damaging his cartilage during training a few days after joining the club.
What are the chances come the end of the January window of still having all eight strikers on our books? Does Howe himself think it will be some sort of miracle if we do keep them all on our books? What is the intention after Vokes loan completes on the 15th January? Will they be looking at a possible extension or indeed a permanent move? These are all questions that nobody can answer or will answer. The only clue Eddie Howe has given for signing Vokes is in relation to Alex MacDonald.
Howe revealed Vokes` arrival could mean Alex MacDonald will now be loaned out in order to get some more competitive games under his belt.
"That was our plan for him this season, but with the injuries we`ve had we`ve not been able to do that," said the Burnley boss.
"There`s nothing lined up yet. We`ll look at that next week."
It looks like that idea will be shelved again now though in light of Austin`s injury!
Maybe we should just not bother questioning the rationale at the moment anyway for signing Vokes and instead focus on the player and simply enjoy what he can clearly offer our attack. There is no doubting his talent
Eddie Howe of course certainly knows about those talents too having been his boss at Bournemouth. Vokes left Dean Court and signed for Wolves in May 2008 after agreeing a four-year deal but has had to play second fiddle at Molineux since that time only playing 47 times for the club and scoring 6 goals. A succession of loan spells followed at Leeds, Bristol City, Sheffield United and Norwich City.
He is however highly regarded and is currently bang on form. Vokes has just returned from International duty with Wales after scoring twice in their 4-1 friendly win over Norway and is quite capable given the chance of scoring at a rate of one goal every 3-4 games if his record at Dean Court is anything to go by.
Howe talking about the player said:
"I think he will compliment the strikers we already have and fit nicely into the squad.
"I know his attitude and all the qualities he has.
"He has a winning mentality so I know he will do well for us, and he`s different to the lads we have in stature and physical presence.
"He is someone whose career I`ve monitored since he left. He came through in a flash as a 16-year-old and burst onto the scene. He did really well and deservedly got his move to Wolves.
"He`s done well in the Premier League and scored goals there, and at international level.
"He had a good weekend scoring twice for Wales so he`s a striker in form."
When questioned about his own talents, Vokes offered the following:
"I feel I offer a physical presence up front, which is the main part of my game and for people to work off me.
"But I`ve got other parts of my game which I can bring to the team as well. I like to work hard for the team and get the goals when I can."
We hope those words will soon be put into action and he certainly made a reasonable first impression during his debut considering it was the first time he had played with his new team mates after just one day at the club.
Burnley FC though have certainly been unlucky with strikers this season that`s for sure! Pato makes a comeback and then succumbs to yet another thigh injury in his first game back! Danny Ings signs and then injures himself in training before getting a chance to impress. Austin makes a comeback in the summer after recovering from a dislocated shoulder and now cruelly suffers the same injury again! Sometimes you think the whole world is against you! Who invented the phrase 'You make your own luck in this game`? Was he having a laugh?