Europe would mean the world to Vokes
European football would mean the world to Clarets striker Sam Vokes.
For the 28-year-old, who initially joined the club on loan in 2011, it would be the ultimate marker of success, an unparalleled achievement, that would signify the remarkable journey that he’s embarked on with the club.
The Welshman featured in every game in the Championship in his first full season with Burnley, scoring four times as they culminated the campaign in mid-table.
But things soon started moving. Sean Dyche’s side were promoted to the Premier League as runners up, with the striker scoring 20 times, and he would go on to share 38 goals with Andre Gray as the Clarets were propelled to the top flight again, this time as champions.
Securing survival in England’s top tier, that had once been unprecedented, was the key ambition once again this term but now, in prime position to finish as the ‘best of the rest’, they’re setting their sights much higher.
A seventh place finish would be enough to grasp qualification for the Europa League should Southampton, Vokes’s birth place, fail to win the FA Cup.
Ahead of Saturday’s game against challengers Leicester City at Turf Moor, he said: “It’s a big game in that fight for seventh spot.
“For us it’s important that we keep this going. We’ve got great belief in the team that we can go in to any game and win at the minute.
“Getting in to Europe would be huge. From the club I turned up at a few years ago it’s a massive turnaround.
“We were always going for survival in the Premier League but to take it on this season and push for a European spot is huge. For a club like this it shows what a good group of lads can achieve.
“Leicester’s story was amazing and I don’t think anybody will top that but this is huge. This is our own little journey and to be pushing for Europe is massive.”
Vokes added: “European football is something that we never even dreamed of at the start of the year.
“When you look at it all you want to do is stay in the league. We’ve taken that on this year, ticked that off and now we’ll see where it takes us.
“It would be some story and great to do it with Burnley. We’ve not achieved it yet but it’s something that we can look to achieve.
“Leicester’s success was a huge achievement but for us, who people look at as ‘little Burnley’, we’ve shown that we can get the wins in the Premier League. We’re on the back of four massive wins now.”