Vokes: Brady and Defour will boost squad
While Burnley have yet to add to their squad in the transfer window, striker Sam Vokes feels the return of Steven Defour and Robbie Brady will be a big boost ahead of another big season.
Both players were an integral part of Burnley establishing themselves in the top seven in the Premier League, ever-presents in the side.
But they missed the second half of the campaign with knee injuries as the Clarets secured European qualification for the first time since 1966/67.
Brady suffered a ruptured patellar tendon at the beginning of December in the first half of the 1-0 defeat at Leicester City, which required surgery.
And Defour played his last game of the season, the 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United in January, before undergoing knee surgery to repair damaged cartilage.
The pair have completed their rehabilitation and reported for the first day of pre-season training at the Barnfield Training Centre last Monday, ahead of this week’s training camp in Cork.
Vokes was delighted to have them back with the group, and he said: “It’s great to see the lads out there again, especially Steven (Defour) and Robbie (Brady).
“It’s good to have them back, and to see them enjoying themselves training again.
“They missed a lot of last season, and it’s like people say, they will be like new signings.
“They’re raring to go.
“It shows the strength in depth we had that we were without them in the second half of the season and still went on to finish seventh and had a great season.
“The lads all have another year’s experience in the Premier League, and we’re looking forward to that and Europe this season.”
And Vokes himself is champing at the bit ahead of the new campaign – having returned to sustained high temperatures.
He smiled: “The weather’s been good, you just want it to be a bit cooler when you come back for pre-season!
“But it’s all part of it, after a few weeks it’s good to be back, getting your running in and your fitness levels up.
“Everyone is in good shape anyway, we’ve all been putting the work in over the summer, with the programmes the sports science guys gave us.
“We’re raring to go, and we’ll have to be ready a bit quicker this year with the Europa League games.”
While the Wales striker is focused on the season ahead, having had his way to a regular start barred by the form of record signing Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes last term, he has been linked with a move to Championship promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough.
Boro have been heavily linked with Vokes – reportedly top of Tony Pulis’s wishlist as he looks to enhance his frontline – with Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher potential departures.