Burnley didn’t exactly adhere to the more conventional methods of team building in preparation for their FA Cup fifth round tie against Lincoln City.
The Clarets have never looked in need of any extra curricular bonding sessions under Sean Dyche’s highly successful tenure at Turf Moor but, with a quarter-final at stake, a little bit of ‘down time’ was needed.
And there wasn’t a mundane workshop or an obligatory ‘trust fall’ in sight. For the majority of the squad a trip to the Manchester Arena to see the latest stop on Drake’s “Boy Meets World” Tour was the preferred warm up.
“All the lads get on well, we’re all good friends and socialise as well so it’s good to have that team spirit,” said striker Sam Vokes.
“I’ve never had anything like there is here. This group of lads are brilliant and it probably shows out on the pitch as well.
“When we perform we’re a tight knit group and it’s like that through the good times and the bad times. We’re having more good times at the minute.
“It was alright, it was a good evening. We organise it all together. Nobody really takes it on themselves.”
Whether that was reward for the point gained against champions elect Chelsea, or whether it was indeed preparation for this afternoon’s game, the Welshman is confident that Burnley’s ever increasing unity will make them “Too Good” for the Red Imps.
“It’s a very important game for us,” he said. “We’re not taking anything away from Lincoln but at home we feel very confident because we’ve had some good results and performances recently. It’s a game that we’re looking forward to and we want to keep that run at home going.
“We’ve been working on them, we’ve had meetings and we’ve been training on the pitch. We’ll treat it like we do any other game, we’ll prepare right and be ready for when it comes.”
The striker added: “I’m sure that they’ll come here and try to make it tough for us. They’ll try and make it a cup game and I’m sure it will turn in to a typical FA Cup tie. It’ll be one that they are looking forward to and it’ll be a big game for them.
“They’ll try and make it as ugly as they can for us. They’ll be full of confidence as well because they’re doing well in their own league. It’s a game I’m sure they’re looking forward to and it’s a big chance for both teams to get to the quarters.”
Burnley’s home form in the Premier League this term has been particularly impressive. The club has averaged two points per game on home soil from 14 fixtures played - the fourth best record on show in the division - but Vokes understands that they’ll have to be wary of their non-league opposition.
The National League leaders have fought their way through seven matches to reach this stage and caused several cup upsets having taken the scalps of Oldham Athletic, Ipswich Town and Brighton & Hove Albion.
However, Vokes insists that they won’t be taking today’s opposition lightly. He said: “That’s what happens in the FA Cup and that is where you get the shocks when complacency sets in.
“We won’t be in that mindset at all and I know, working with the gaffer, he won’t let us be like that.
“It’s important that we don’t take teams for granted, it’s important that we respect them because they’ve got this far in the cup because they’re a good side.
“I’ve not really been involved in any upsets. Something that we’re not going to do is take teams for granted because it’s important that you respect your opposition.
“Sides like Lincoln have done fantastic to reach this stage and I’m sure they’ll be up for it and looking to progress as well. It’s definitely important that you don’t take these teams for granted.”
With the Clarets looking to reach the last eight of the competition for the first time since 2003, when they were beaten 2-0 by Watford, who had Dyche on the bench, Vokes added: We’re not taking anything for granted in the Premier League. We’ve still got work to do and we know that.
“But the cup is an important one for us because we’re not playing as many games as we have done previously in the Championship. The cup has been good for us so far and we want to keep that run going.
“I know since I’ve been here we’ve been involved in more relegation and promotion battles so the cup hasn’t been a big preference really. But, for us at the minute, it’s a good chance for us to make the quarters.”