STRIKER Sam Vokes believes the Clarets are capable of mounting a genuine bid for promotion on current form.
Sean Dyche’s side boast a 100% record in the Championship since the New Year, keeping clean sheets in those respective victories over Sheffield Wednesday, Crystal Palace and Millwall.
The 2-0 triumph in the Lions’ Den at weekend fired the Clarets up to seventh in the league, just four points behind Dyche’s former club Watford, who currently occupy the final play-off spot.
“The spirit in the camp is high at the moment and that’s our third league win on the bounce now,” beamed Vokes.
“We’re coming to places like Millwall without fear and we’re getting our just reward.
“We’ve definitely tightened up at the back and that’s our third clean sheet in a row as well.
“That gives us that base to go forward and it’s shown in the last few games.”
Vokes added: “We’re pushing and who knows where it will take us.
“We’ve got the groundwork there to continue this until the end of the season now and we’re getting stronger with every performance.
“We’re pushing, we’re seventh in the league, and we’re on a good run so we need to see where we can go.”
The nomadic 23-year-old opened the scoring in the 19th minute in South Bermondsey before Danny Ings added a second after the break to seal the points.
And Vokes was delighted with the display, brimming with pace, power and panache, against Kenny Jackett’s men.
“It was a very strong performance from the lads,” he said. “It was a very cold day and it’s a tough place to play with a hostile atmosphere but the boys stepped up to it and we deserved the three points.
“The cold obviously plays a factor and the pitch wasn’t fantastic but we adapted, got the ball down and we were good for the win.
“It was a great 90 minutes, we started strong and got the goal early on.
“We kept the momentum going although in the second half they put the pressure on. I think we showed spirit to keep going and get the three points.”
The former Wolves marksman, who has only made five league starts this term, grabbed his third of the season, poking beyond former Bournemouth team-mate David Forde following great work from Junior Stanislas.
Now Vokes, who has benefited from the injury sustained by Clarets’ leading scorer Charlie Austin, is ready to kick on following his latest outing.
“We felt we had to get in their faces early doors, we did that, and it paid off with the goal we got,” he said. “Junior’s got a few assists for me now so it’s obviously a good combination.
“It’s good for him to get back in the team, like myself, and he got me the goal so I’m pleased.
“I think I nut-megged the keeper. I know him as well so I’ll get on to him about that. It was a good ball from Junior, I got across the front, and managed to get a touch to it.
“It’s good to get another 90 minutes under my belt and to top it off with a goal and three points is fantastic.”
Despite his lack of starts, mainly down to the prolific form of his 23-goal strike partner, Vokes is enjoying the competition among Turf Moor’s ‘striker’s union’. However, he’s determined to mark his name indelibly in Dyche’s starting XI even when the club’s prized asset makes a return to action.
“We’ll have to see about that because Charlie’s had a great start to the season,” Vokes said. “Personally all I can do is knock on the door and hopefully I can do enough to give myself a chance even when he comes back.
“I’d love to play alongside Charlie. He’s a striker who likes to play off the shoulder so I think we could work together.
“Obviously it depends on how we play and who we play. Charlie coming back will just make us even stronger.”
Vokes added: “You do get frustrated at times because as a striker you want to be scoring goals.
“I was knocking on the door last week, and was obviously disappointed not to score, but I’ve made up for it. It was good for me to get that goal.
“You’ve got to try and impress on the pitch when you get the chance and hopefully I’ve taken that.
“Myself and Charlie, with Pato and Ings included, are always working together as strikers on finishing and general play. We work a lot together so you learn things from each other about different parts of the game.
“We have a great relationship. It’s a striker’s union so it’s a strong union. We’ve all got different parts of our game that can pay off for the team and we all help each other.”