Has Burnley's Ashley Barnes done enough to keep Sam Vokes out?

Burnley FC - Turf Moor

With Sam Vokes fit again at Burnley, should Sean Dyche reunite him with Danny Ings or stick with Ashley Barnes?

Sean Dyche has not faced too many selection dilemmas during his time at Burnley.

He has assembled a hard-working side that have enjoyed considerable success through stability and continuity.

Working with a small squad in the Championship last season allowed Dyche – who was able to steer clear of injury and suspension woes – to settle on a preferred XI and reap the rewards.

He has adopted a similar approach after stepping up into the Premier League, with those that got the Clarets this far given every opportunity to keep them there.

It has not been easy, but Burnley have their head above water at present and will believe that they are capable of beating the drop.

Dyche has, however, been handed a welcome headache by the return to fitness of Sam Vokes.

With Danny Ings doing the business among the elite and drawing widespread praise, the question facing Burnley’s boss is who to pair him with?

Ashley Barnes has fared admirably, with his work rate making him a useful asset.

Vokes, though, plundered 20 goals in the second-tier last term and deserves a shot at the big time, having shown how destructive he can be alongside Ings.

  GoalsTotal Scoring Att GAMEOntarget Scoring Att GAMETotal Att Assist GAMETouches GAMEAerial WonAppearancesMins Played
Danny Ings 7 3.05 0.95 1.05 39.63 13 19 1,631
Ashley Barnes 4 1.5 0.3 0.8 30 83 20 1,241
George Boyd 4 1.65 0.45 0.95 38.75 24 20 1,679

The Opta statistics above suggest that Barnes - who has told the Lancashire Telegraph, ‘All I can do is fight for my shirt and I’m lucky enough to have kept it for now’ – would have every right to feel aggrieved were he to be dropped.

No-one has been able to get close to Ings in terms of attacking numbers at Turf Moor this season, but Barnes is proving to be a useful foil.

He is similar to Vokes in that he offers a physical presence and helps to open up space and provide important knock downs for those around him, so it may be that Dyche opts to rotate the pair over the remainder of the season and endeavour to keep everyone happy.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch