Burnley record-holder Chris Wood looking to build on goal return once again

Chris Wood's goal return has improved year on year since the New Zealander became Burnley's record signing from Leeds United in 2017.

By Dan Black
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 7:00 am
Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates after he scores his sides first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Turf Moor on July 15, 2020 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Paul Ellis/Pool via Getty Images)
Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates after he scores his sides first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Turf Moor on July 15, 2020 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Paul Ellis/Pool via Getty Images)

The 28-year-old, who will return to the King Power Stadium on Sunday to face his former side Leicester City, set a new club record last term when clocking up 14 Premier League goals.

That bettered the 13 scored by the striker for the Clarets in all competitions during the 2018/19 campaign and the 11 netted in his first season at Turf Moor.

Asked if he believes his numbers will continue to rise, he said: "I wish it was as easy as that. That would be lovely. It's all about striving for better and seeing what happens.

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Chris Wood of Burnley scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Turf Moor on July 26, 2020 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

"I always strive to do the best I can and improve on everything so it would be good, but, if not, I'll continue working hard for everybody else.

"I think I've continued to improve every year, which has been nice. Hopefully I can continue to do that in the years to come.

"I'm extremely happy with it. I think 14 goals in the Premier League is unbelievable, especially for a club like us and how we play. It's nice in that sense, I'm very happy with it and hopefully there'll be more to come."

Only three players representing rivals from outside the top six - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (22), Danny Ings (22) and Raul Jimenez (17) - out-scored Burnley's leading marksman last season.

He closed the campaign level with Manchester City's Brazilian frontman Gabriel Jesus while finishing ahead of the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Kevin De Bruyne.

The All Whites forward would love nothing more than to get another step closer to the 20-goal mark this time round, but his ambition is balanced with a sense of realism.

"To get 20 goals in a season is going to be very difficult," said Wood, who was linked with Lazio during the break. "I think you only see the top players from the top teams getting that because they have the chances.

"Danny Ings did absolutely fantastic to do it last season. I'm sure one of our strikers would love to get to the 20-goal mark, but it's not as realistic as when you're at other clubs.

"Ultimately, first and foremost, it's about the team and then hopefully the goals follow with it. It's all about hard work and having a good squad around you, which I do."

Wood is expected to continue his partnership with Jay Rodriguez for the top flight opener against the Foxes, though he acknowledges that the Clarets have strength in depth in the department.

Matej Vydra will be awaiting his opportunity to impress once again while Ashley Barnes is back on the grass and nearing a return to action.

Wood, who scored twice against Brendan Rodgers' side last season, said: "We've always had four good strikers. All four of us were fighting fit at the start of last season.

"We're four very good strikers who are capable of playing in the Premier League so it's always tough to try and pull on that shirt. When you do you've got to make sure that you stay in it."