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Baker Vokes looking to cook up a storm in Championship showdown
SAM Vokes may not yet be ready for the Great British Bake-Off, but he put his culinary skills to the test to impress his team-mates this week.
As is tradition in the workplace – with football clubs no exception – anyone celebrating a birthday supplies cakes for colleagues.
It is not uncommon for footballers to arm themselves with boxes of Krispie Kreme donuts or Millie’s cookies on their special day.
But when striker Vokes turned 24 on Monday, he treated his team-mates to homemade buns, complete with claret and blue toppings.
“To be fair the boys were impressed,” smiled the Wales international, who is hoping to serve up an even better treat for Clarets fans against QPR tomorrow.
Stretching Burnley’s two-point lead at the top would be a moment to savour, against a side whose big ambition for a Premier League return is being matched their budget.
It included a spend of around £3million to buy Charlie Austin from Burnley, on the eve of the season.
Last season’s 28-goal top scorer will make his first return to his old stomping ground this weekend.
But Vokes, Burnley’s top Championship scorer with eight, is one of the reasons why the Clarets didn’t crumble after Austin’s exit.
Instead the loss has been anything but keenly felt.
Austin’s eventual departure, after a proposed move to newly promoted Hull fell down after a medical, provided Vokes with the perfect opportunity to stake a claim for regular first team football.
“There was a lot of coming off the bench last year for me personally due to him doing so well,” said Vokes, whose partnership with top scorer Danny Ings has so far yielded 19 goals.
“I see this year as my chance to do the same (as Charlie) and put my name on the scoresheet.
“It’s one of those for us as strikers, every time we step on the pitch we want to be a threat in front of goal and get as many goals as we can.
“It’s been a big positive for us, we’re creating a lot of chances from wide areas and through the middle. It’s been paying off.
“It’s going well. We feel good as a partnership together. We work off each other well.
“It took a few games into the season to forge that partnership and we feel comfortable together.
“Now every time we step on to the pitch we know where the other ones going to be and it feels good.
“I think it comes with time and minutes on the pitch.
“There’s no better place than on a Saturday to forge that partnership and you get used to how the other one plays, when they’re going to make their runs.
“Hopefully it can keep going.”
It has made for a start to the season which has prompted the rest of the Championship, and beyond, sit up and take notice of Burnley again, with the Clarets going into tomorrow's table-topping clash on a seven-game winning run.
And for that, Vokes credits manager Sean Dyche.
“From day one with him in the last year it’s been good," he said.
“He’s done well to turn the squad around to what it is now. Everyone in the squad is looking forward.
“It’s going well.
“We’re pushing forward every game and we’ve got a good little run.
“We don’t really look at what we’ve done though, we just look at the next game and prepare for that.
"His man-management has been great. He pulls lads to the side to talk about things we need to work on for the weekend and it’s paying off."
As for Austin...
“We know what he's about. He’s always going to be a threat," added Vokes.
“He’s a great player, as we saw over the last couple of years.
“As a squad we know him inside out so hopefully we can do our best to stop him at the weekend."
Another win would be the icing on the cake.
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