As per the club’s official website, Championship side Stoke City completed a Deadline Day move to sign striker Sam Vokes. The 29-year-old had been playing his football at Premier League outfit Burnley and had done so since leaving Wolves back in 2012, although struggles for regular football under Clarets manager Sean Dyche earlier this season called his future at Turf Moor into question.
And it was Nathan Jones’ Stoke who officially sealed a deal for the Wales international on Deadline Day, with Peter Crouch going the other way, and given the Potters’ struggles for goals this term, the £5.4 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) could prove to be the man to help fire Stoke into promotion contention.
Ultimately, it has proven to be a tough return to the Championship for the Staffordshire-based outfit this season given they sit 15th in the table after 29 matches, and eight points adrift of the play-off positions.
And their stuttering start ultimately cost Gary Rowett his job earlier this month to be replaced by Jones, and while the former Luton Town manager masterminded an impressive victory over Leeds United earlier this month, their familiar woes in front of goal were again evident last time out in losing 2-0 at home to Preston North End at the weekend – their fourth game in their last six in the league in which they have failed to score.
And with only 33 goals from their 29 Championship matches this term, only one side in Middlesbrough have scored fewer of those above the Potters in the table, it’s pretty clear just how much they were crying out for a striker in the last knockings of the January window.
And in Burnley’s Vokes, they may well have the man who can fire them into promotion contention in the second half of the season.
The Welshman may well have found regular starts hard to come by at Burnley in the first half of the season, starting only ten times in the Premier League, but one mustn’t forget the great level of service he gave the Clarets in his six-and-a-half year stay in Lancashire.
The 29-year-old netted 56 goals in 230 games for Dyche’s men to help establish them in the top-flight, with ten of those goals coming in their Premier League season of 2016/17 as they staved off relegation – the season before had seen Vokes bag 15 times in the Championship to help them win promotion.
Add in 20 goals in 39 league appearances in the 2013/14 season, another in which Burnley were promoted, and it’s clear just how effective the Wales international has been at second tier level over the years – he would be an asset to the vast majority of teams in the Championship.
And that seems none-more-so clearer than in a Stoke side struggling to put the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis – but at just eight points adrift of the top six, and the recent win over Leeds showing their credentials, promotion isn’t out of the question just yet.
In fact, with a striker like Vokes leading the line, the 29-year-old could well prove to be the man to help fire Jones’ men up the second tier table as the season wears on.
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