Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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Sam Vokes believes Burnley have conquered their away day fear factor

Striker Sam Vokes believes Burnley have conquered the fear factor of playing away from home in the Premier League.

Southampton-born Vokes came off the bench to score the winning goal against his hometown club on Saturday as the Clarets made it 11 points from a possible 18 on the road to cement seventh spot in the table.

Their impressive early-season record comes after they managed just seven points and one league victory away from Turf Moor in the whole of last campaign following promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.

Victory at St Mary's backed up an opening-day success against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a win at Everton last month and draws at Tottenham and Liverpool.

Wales international Vokes feels Burnley's players now have the confidence and belief that they can pick up points wherever they play.

"I don't know, I suppose it's the mentality," he replied when asked what has changed since last year.

"We go into games not fearing teams.

"It's three wins against top Premier League sides now and it's not just the wins, it's the performances that go with it.

"Last year, a lot was made of our away performances and our results have picked up.

"We are a proper Premier League team now and you feel that every day coming into work."

Burnley's strong start has not gone unnoticed, putting them in touching distance of the top four and fuelling speculation of manager Sean Dyche leaving for a fresh challenge at a bigger club.

Dyche, who took over the Lancashire team in October 2012, has been linked with the vacant Everton job following last month's sacking of Ronald Koeman.

While Vokes admits his boss is worthy of being considered for such roles, he is keen for him to still be in charge when he returns from playing for his country during the international break.

"The gaffer deserves the recognition he has got. He has done great over the five years since he got here and that's what happens, the big clubs come looking," Vokes added.

"It's part and parcel of modern football. It is something that is always going to happen when you are doing well, you are going to get linked to places.

"He is doing a great job with us and I hope he is still here when I come back."

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