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On the 11th November 2011, not far short of a decade ago, and with Burnley leading 1-0 against Leeds United with a Jay Rodriguez goal, his strike partner Charlie Austin suffered an injury that forced him off the pitch. His replacement was new loan signing and debutant Sam Vokes.

We lost the game 2-1 with Robert Snodgrass, until this week a team mate of Austin’s at West Brom, scoring both Leeds’ goals.

Vokes left, went to Brighton on loan, but joined us permanently in the summer of 2012 to become a permanent team mate of Austin for the next season and Vokes was to become a beneficiary of Austin’s move to QPR on the eve of the 2013/14 season.

I think it is fair to say that Austin is a natural goalscorer. His record at Swindon, prior to signing for us, then with us and at QPR was phenomenal but he has struggled more in recent years at Southampton and West Brom where, last season, he was no more than a bit player.

That led to him returning to QPR on loan and the goals started to flow again. He netted eight times in 21 games and such was the form of the now 31-year-old that QPR have moved this week to sign him permanently on a two year deal.

“I am really pleased to get it done and to be able to continue my journey here,” Austin said. “With the way we finished the season, and how I feel about the club hasn’t changed, I wanted to be part of it and as soon as the opportunity was available I wanted to get this done as soon as possible.”

For Vokes, however, it is very much a time of uncertainty. Just a few months younger than Austin, he formed a partnership with Danny Ings in 2013/14 and helped us to promotion, as he did again two years later, this time partnering Andre Gray.

Hugely popular with the Burnley fans, and of course there is only one Sam Vokes, he went on to score 56 league goals for us before a surprise move to Stoke in January 2019 on a three and a half year contract.

That leaves him with one season remaining on his deal but reports in Stoke suggest they are offering him to other clubs with Bristol City, a club he spent time with on loan in 2010/11, believed to have an interest.

It’s been a difficult time or Sam who hasn’t scored a goal since netting the opener in a 4-0 home win against Barnsley on 4th July last year. His 2020/21 season saw him start just five games for Stoke and he was unable to open his account.

Charlie is back just where he wants to be and I’m sure we will all be delighted if Sam can find a new happy home before next season is underway.

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