There are no friends out on the pitch, says Tarkowski
Clarets defender James Tarkowski says that friendships are parked to one side out on the football pitch ahead of a potential reunion with Andre Gray.
The England international centre back has known the Watford striker for more than four years, dating back to when the pair played a full season together in the Championship at Brentford.
Gray’s exit from Griffin Park in the summer of 2015, in what was then a record signing for the Clarets, forced a six month separation but they were singing from the same hymn sheet once again when Tarkowski made his move to Turf Moor the following February.
They played three times together at the back end of the title-winning campaign, against Rotherham United, Nottingham Forest and Bolton Wanderers, before sharing the pitch on just 12 occasions as Burnley survived in the Premier League for the first time.
The Clarets kept the Hornets out at Turf Moor, with Gray getting 11 minutes of game time having replaced Andre Carrillo, and Tarkowski is planning on a repeat at Vicarage Road tomorrow.
“Hopefully he gets a game, he’s been a bit out of it recently so it will be nice to see him back out there and playing football, but hopefully not scoring goals,” said Tarkowski.
“You’ve got to put it to the side. I’m a different person on the pitch, you’ve got to get in certain zones, so there’s no friends out there.
“Off the pitch me and Andre are good mates but there will be no friends tomorrow.”
While the 25-year-old bids for an 11th clean sheet of the campaign, he’s backing the boys at the other end of the field to keep producing the goods.
The duo have both scored in three successive games, bringing victories over Everton, West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion, and they now have 15 top flight goals between them.
Tarkowski said: “They’re brilliant, you can see it out there with the amount of work they put in, the way they hold up the ball and the problems they’re causing, the link-up play.
“They’ve been terrific and they’ve got a bit of a past together from their time at Brighton.
“You can see that a little bit because they seem to link up well and hopefully they can keep scoring goals the way they are. With two up there it’s difficult for defenders to play against.”
The forthcoming fixtures against Watford and Leicester City could prove vital to the club’s Europa League aspirations but Tarkowski believes that every game is of equal importance.
“I wouldn’t say they are season defining, there’s still a few games out there to play, we just look forward to the next one and hopefully put in a good performance.
“I think the season is defined over every game you play and so far we’ve done pretty well.”