Sam Vokes double inspires Burnley into pre-season form

Sam Vokes double inspires Burnley into pre-season form

The Clarets have now played five friendlies as they front-load their season preparations.

Chris Lincoln

After a relatively lacklustre start to pre-season, simultaneous victories over Macclesfield Town and Curzon Ashton sparked a flurry of goals as key Europa League and Premier League fixtures edge closer.

Five fired past Curzon Ashton

There was a theme in the two local friendlies with wide areas proving a successful outlet as numerous players got a taste of 90 minutes for the first time during the summer.

Robbie Brady impressed in a first-half cameo as he continued his rehabilitation from a long-term absence after suffering a knee injury seven months ago. The Irishman, Sam Vokes and Nakhi Wells all missed chances in the opening stages before Brady crossed for Ben Mee to equalise after Curzon opened the scoring in a fixture overseen by first-team coach Tony Loughlan.

Brady was replaced at half-time but full-back Matthew Lowton started to play a key role as the Clarets kicked into gear during the second period. Twice he combined with Vokes as the Welshman headed home crosses to continue his promising form during pre-season.

Lowton also assisted Jon Walters with a pinpoint delivery after Wells had netted a third for the visitors. Both Walters and Wells then missed further chances before Curzon grabbed a late consolation in the 5-2 defeat.

No less than seven key players enjoyed 90 minutes with James Tarkowski and Stephen Ward also featuring.

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No World Cup hangover for Gudmundsson

It was a familiar story for the other half of the squad in Macclesfield as Tom Heaton was amongst several Clarets likely to play an important role during 2018-19 who completed the entire game.

Yet the most impressive play was undoubtedly Johann Berg Gudmundsson on his return from a World Cup debut with Iceland. The winger sparkled throughout and went close twice in the opening stages. However, striker Chris Wood looked much rustier as he missed two more clear-cut chances that the Kiwi would be expected to finish.

The opening goal in a 2-0 victory was scored by Aaron Lennon who injected a moment of pace and flair just before the break after running at an exposed home defence after a misplaced pass. Gudmundsson then curled home a second straight after the restart with a delightful free-kick.

Unlike the contest against Curzon, Burnley stepped off the pace and Macclesfield rallied after Gudmundsson departed on the hour mark. Yet the visitors held firm and Ashley Westwood went close to scoring a third before the end of a useful workout.

Seven goals in two friendlies during one evening will be timely for Burnley who increase the tempo of their preparations with a visit to Preston North End on Monday before their Europa League opener against Aberdeen on Thursday.


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