Vokes needs more time - boss

On track: Sam Vokes is nearing a return to the first team squad
On track: Sam Vokes is nearing a return to the first team squad

Clarets striker Sam Vokes came through his latest outing unscathed on Tuesday.

But the Wales international needs more game time before he is ready to return to the first team squad.

Vokes has made three development squad appearances since recovering from the ruptured cruciate knee ligament he suffered at the end of March.

He played 45 minutes against Carlisle United, then 70 minutes last week at Sheffield United, before completing the full 90 at Wigan.

However, a return at home to his boyhood team Southampton at Turf Moor tomorrow isn’t on the cards, as boss Sean Dyche - yesterday nominated for the Barclays Premier Legaue Manager of th e Month for November, said: “I think he needs more time yet, he’s had one 90 minutes in nine months and there needs to be a bit of common sense.

“You wouldn’t do that in pre-season.

“There are no problems though, which is great, he just needs more match fitness and that sharpness.”

Michael Duff remains a doubt after aggravating the calf problem which forced him off in the win at Stoke City three weeks ago: “We have to be careful with that one, it’s not a big problem but he slightly re-damaged it and I doubt he’ll be ready, but we’ll see.”

Matt Taylor remains “weeks away” after surgery to remove a spur on his heel.

Dyche, meanwhile, anticipates a very tough test against the meanest defence in the Premier League tomorrow.

Southampton have conceded only 12 goals so far, and while they are on the back of three successive defeats, he said: “Ronald Koeman has one fantastically well to see through the noise and madness with selling players, and has been nice and calm and spent wisely in the market.

“They’ve had a real good start, and although they’ve had a run of games not in their favour, their performances have been good.

“They seem to have that nice format of the right players in the right slots.

“But we’ll try and deliver from our own point of view.

“We know the challenge, and know we have to be right on top of our game, but we have proved we can compete.”