Vokes looking to match Cherries

Sam Vokes is representing Wales at Euro 2016
Sam Vokes is representing Wales at Euro 2016

Clarets striker Sam Vokes was in action on Sunday as Wales wrapped up their Euro 2016 preparations with a 3-0 defeat in Stockholm against Sweden.

Vokes played 73 minutes for Chris Coleman’s side, in a game where former Clarets loan forward John Guidetti was on target.

That’s going to be our aim, to be like them next year

Sam Vokes

Vokes, who was replaced by Simon Church, will now hope to get the nod for Wales’ first Group B game against Slovakia on Saturday (kick-off 5 p.m.), ahead the meeting with England on June 16th.

While Vokes is focusing on international matters at present, when he returns to Turf Moor, he is eager to help Burnley maintain their Premier League status, and follow in the footsteps of his first club Bournemouth.

As the Clarets were relegated from the Premier League last year, the Cherries, under former Burnley boss Eddie Howe, were promoted as Championship winners.

And Howe, backed by Russian owner Maxim Demin, managed to secure survival in the club’s first-ever season in the top flight.

Vokes, now 26, started out at Dean Court, where he netted 16 goals in 59 games before securing a move to Wolves in 2008, as Bournemouth were relegated to League 2.

And he said: “I left there a few years ago and they got relegated into League 2 at the time and were in a lot of trouble financially.

“They’ve done fantastic and we’re going into next year looking to emulate the likes of Bournemouth and Watford.

“That’s going to be our aim, to be like them next year.”

The Clarets will do battle with another south coast club close to Vokes’ heart next season, Southampton, who he and his father support.

Vokes netted against the Saints in the FA Cup third round in 2014, but was denied by an inspired Kelvin Davis in the Premier League last term, and he is looking forward to a return to St Mary’s: “Being from down that area it’s a fixture to look out for.

“It’s exciting. Going to the Premier League everyone looks out for when the fixtures are announced.

“It’s a great time to be involved with a club like Burnley.”

Vokes missed the first half of Burnley’s last Premier League season through injury, returning against Liverpool on Boxing Day.

But while he scored against Spurs the following month in the FA Cup, he awaits his first goal in the top flight, as he looks to build on his 16-goal tally this season.

He feels the experience he and the rest of the squad gleaned from that campaign can only benefit them achieve their goal this time around: “I think that can only help us.

“I think that helped us this year, a core of the lads were similar to the group that got promoted last time, and we’re going into a Premier League season with a similar sort of side, and I’m sure we’ll add to it in the summer and look to stay up.”

• Clarets midfielder Scott Arfield made his first start for Canada, completing the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan in their friendly international on Friday night.

Arfield claimed an assist two minutes before half-time as Tesho Akindele put Canada ahead, before Azerbaijan equalised after the break from the penalty spot.

He will look to claim another cap today as Canada face Uzbekistan (kick-off 3 p.m. BST) in another warm-up game, ahead of their 2018 World Cup qualifying ties against Honduras and El Salvador in September.