MANAGER Sean Dyche believes competition within the Burnley squad is fierce, with Sam Vokes the latest player to be offering him a sele-ction headache.
The striker came off the bench to combine with fellow substitute Junior Stanislas and score his first goal of the season to equalise against Ipswich Town on Saturday.
Although the Clarets went on to concede a late goal against the Championship strugglers, Clarets boss Dyche admits he has been impressed with the level of performance the targetman has given from the bench.
And he feels Vokes, and others, are knocking on the door of the starting 11 for this weekend’s visit of Charlton Athletic.
“He’s putting himself in your thinking, and rightly so,” said Dyche of Vokes.
“The more people you can get on the teamsheet that can score a goal the better and the pleasing thing on Saturday was when you’ve got players who can come off the bench and they’re ready, you can see the way the lads who came on went about it.
“They wanted to perform, they were hungry to perform.
“That’s a good weapon to have.
“Against Wolves Sam whistled one past the post, and then he nicked one on Saturday.
“It’s a steward’s enquiry, but I’m happy for a centre forward to take it – as an ex centre half I would not be claiming that.”
And Dyche believes getting off the mark will give Vokes the confidence to push on and get more this season.
“We’ve done some work with Sam and had a good chat with him about what we think he can do,” said the Burnley boss.
“He’s been nomadic a little bit, more through the loan system, until he’s found a home here, and I made it clear to him that this is his home and we want to bring the best out of him.”
Dyche will be forced into one change for the visit of Charlton, with winger Ross Wallace serving a one-match ban after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
But the Burnley boss believes this is an ideal opening for whoever is selected.
“I always look at these things as opportunities, an opportunity for someone to come in and perform,” said the 41-year-old, who is hopeful of having Ben Mee available after the defender missed the trip to Portman Road with a foot injury.
However, Dyche was full of praise for Danny Lafferty’s performance at left-back, in what was the Northern Ireland international’s first start of the season.
“He did nicely I thought,” Dyche added. “It was a tough ask coming in when he hasn’t played that many games here.
“We monitor players in training, he’s done well in training and looked sharp and I thought he delivered a good performance, especially after a late decision on Ben because we give players every chance to be fit, particularly with knocks – they’re either in or they’re out with muscle strains.”
“We’re hopeful now (for Mee) because it was a knock. He was close-ish but not close enough to play.”