Sam Vokes: Burnley and Wales striker praises 'model' club Swansea

By Rob PhillipsBBC Wales football correspondent
Sam Vokes celebrates scoring against Chelsea
Sam Vokes celebrates scoring against Chelsea

Burnley and Wales striker Sam Vokes says Swansea City is a "model" for clubs promoted to the Premier League.

The Clarets welcome Swansea to Turf Moor on Saturday as they bid to preserve their Premier League status after promotion to the top flight last season.

Vokes, 25, has returned from a nine-month injury layoff to help Burnley's fight for survival.

"They have been a team we are probably trying to be like," Vokes said.

"After getting promotion they have stayed in the Premier League for a few years and have shown how strong they are, especially last Saturday."

Swansea - promoted in 2011 - cemented their top-half place with Saturday's 2-1 win over Manchester United at Liberty Stadium, while 18th-placed Burnley, in the relegation zone on goal difference, drew 1-1 at leaders Chelsea.

Vokes injured his cruciate knee ligament in March 2014 and has made a series of substitute appearances in the Premier League since returning in December.

He said of Swansea: "Of course they are a strong outfit in the Premier League, a top-10 outfit at the moment.

Chelsea and Burnley players gather after Ashley Barnes' challenge on Chelsea's Nemanja Matic
Chelsea and Burnley players gather after Ashley Barnes' challenge on Chelsea's Nemanja Matic

"That is what clubs like us, who have been promoted, are looking to strive for.

"They are a great model for teams who are getting promoted."

He believes their recruitment policy is also a good example to others.

"They bought some great players through without spending a great amount of money, like ourselves," Vokes said.

"We have not spent a great amount of money, but we have players who have shown they are good enough to prove themselves at this level.

"We are coming out of a good result at Chelsea, but for us that won't mean a lot without a result on Saturday at home.

"We have dropped a few points at home in the last couple of games which have been important."

Sam Vokes and Ashley Williams
Sam Vokes and Swansea City captain Ashley Williams are Wales international team-mates.

Vokes expects a more intense spotlight to be on Burnley this weekend following the controversy over Ashley Barnes' challenge on Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic, who was red-carded for retaliation in Saturday's draw.

Matic's violent conduct ban was reduced from three games to two as the Football Association's independent regulatory commission partially upheld an appeal lodged by Chelsea.

"When these situations happen, the focus is going to be on us I suppose and how we react from that and the media pressure," Vokes said.

"But for us, the gaffer [manager Sean Dyche] has come in on Monday morning and quietened it all down and we have just got on with our jobs."

Vokes' progress since returning from his injury has been monitored by Wales manager Chris Coleman.

The former Wolves striker scored on his last Wales appearance in the 3-1 friendly victory over Iceland, at the Cardiff City Stadium, on 5 March, 2014.

Vokes is now targeting a return to the Wales squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier away to Group B leaders Israel on March 28.

If he enters the fray at Turf Moor, Vokes will come up against Swansea and Wales skipper Ashley Williams.

The big striker will relish any opportunity. "I have played against Ashley a few times and with him a load of times," Vokes said.

"He is a great player and he's shown with Swansea over the last few years he is a top Premier League player.

"It is going to be another battle and hopefully I will get my chance against him on Saturday.

"He is a great example of what Swansea City have done as a club, strived to be that strong Premier League outfit that they are - and he is a model for that club."

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