FOOTBALL nomad Sam Vokes hopes to make Turf Moor his home.
The 22-year-old completed a £350,000 switch from Wolves on Tuesday, and was thrust straight into action in the 3-1 friendly win at Bath City that night.
Despite his tender years, Vokes has had spells at eight different clubs - six on loan, including Burnley - and he aims to settle in East Lancashire after signing a three-year deal.
The Wales international striker joined Wolves from Bournemouth - where he made his professional debut alongside Howe - four years ago, but would make only 13 starts for the Molineux club, while furthering his experience on loan in the Championship with Leeds, Bristol City, Sheffield United, Norwich, Burnley and Brighton.
And he admitted: “(Needing to settle down) was a big thing for me.
“I’ve been living out of a suitcase effectively for the last couple of years and it’s been a bit of a nightmare.
“I can finally settle down and get stuck into a club.”
And with so many familiar faces from his days at Bournemouth and two months with the club last season, it was an easy decision for him to make the move: “It was definitely a no-brainer coming back.
“It was good to meet up with the lads again.
“I know them all and I know how the gaffer and Jason work. It’s good to be back.”
He realised his time was up at Wolves - where there were 11 professional strikers - under new boss Stale Solbakken: “I had a discussion with the manager when we were away in Ireland for a week (on pre-season).
“I was considering my future and told him where I stood.
“We agreed that I was looking to get out.”
Tuesday was a hectic day, racing down to Bath for a medical and complete the formalities of his move, before pulling on the Claret and Blue again against Bath City as a second half substitute: “I started off collecting my boots from Wolves this morning and ended up playing on Tuesday night.
“There were talks going on over the weekend and I got the shout on Tuesday morning to come down and meet with the squad at about 2 p.m. and then had my medical.
“It was a bit of a mad day.”
He went with the blessing of Wolves, whose chief executive Jez Moxey said: “Sam came to us as a young player and made an important contribution during the Championship winning season.
“Since then he has found opportunities hard to come by at Wolves which has seen him embark on several loan spells elsewhere, but throughout his time with us he has been a model professional, never causing a moment’s trouble behind the scenes and carrying himself with a smile on his face.
“When players behave in this way we are usually more sympathetic to their individual circumstances. Sam needs to play regularly to help develop his undoubted talents and he was not guaranteed that here.
“We are pleased to have concluded a deal with Burnley which suits all parties, and wish Sam all the very best for the future.”
While not a direct replacement for Jay Rodriguez, Vokes completes Eddie Howe’s forward options, adding to Charlie Austin, Danny Ings and Martin Paterson, and Vokes said: “That’s football.
“Jay has gone on to become a Premier League player and that’s great for him, we all wish him all the best.
“It’s a chance for us to build a team around everyone else.
“We’re four completely different players, and obviously that’s looking at what the gaffer wants on a matchday.
“We all work well with each other and know each other well.
“I played with all three of them when I was last here so I think it will be good.”
And he is impressed with the reinforcements Howe has made since Vokes returned to Wolves in January, with Jason Shackell, Luke O’Neill, Joseph Mills and George Porter signing: “There have been some good additions I think. I know Shacks very well from Wolves.
“Millsy and a few of the younger lads coming through look good as well.
“It’s a good squad.”
Vokes was introduced at Bath as a central striker with Porter and Wallace playing off him in a 3-4-2-1 formation, and Howe admits it is a system he may well employ this season.
Roberto Martinez had success at Wigan when he introduced it over the second half of last season, while the likes of Napoli, Barcelona and Chile have used it to thrilling effect recently, as three centre backs show signs of becoming fashionable again in football.
And Howe revealed: “We’re only doing things in pre-season with a view to using it - there’s no point unless you have the intent to use it, so I would never rule anything out, we’re trying to be flexible and have different ways of playing and working, and we’ve played a few systems.
“It’s nice to keep people guessing as well.
“I think it’s a nice way of playing, I enjoy watching it and I was really pleased with what I saw, so it could be an option for us.”