New signing Vokes hoping to make an impression after a stop-start season
Striker Sam Vokes is hoping to finish a nomadic season on a high note by helping Norwich City secure promotion to the Premier League.
The 21-year-old Wolves attacker has endured a difficult eight months and is on loan to his third different Championship club after joining the Canaries to the end of the campaign.
Wales international Vokes joined Bristol City on loan in August but suffered a hamstring injury on the opening day of the season, and did not play again until he made two FA Cup appearances for Wolves at Molineux in January.
A month’s loan followed at Sheffield United from mid-February and he scored once in six outings – his only goal this season – before switching to Carrow Road 10 days ago.
Now he is hoping to make up for lost time and win promotion from the Championship for the second time in three seasons, with today’s home game against Scunthorpe United (3pm) his first opportunity to make his mark.
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“In my first year at Wolves we got promoted as champions. It was fantastic to be involved in that and I hope I can bring something to the squad here,” said Vokes.
“It was a fantastic season, to be involved in a promotion squad, and to be involved in it again would be good.
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“It’s good coming into a club high on confidence and pushing for promotion.
“I had a good month at Sheffield United after my injury, played some games up there and it was a good experience, but I’ve come to the other side of it now. They were in a relegation battle so to come here is great.
“Tuesday was my first session and you could just see the tempo and how confident the lads are round each other and it’s great to get out there and get involved in it.”
Vokes already knows two of City’s senior players - Andrew Surman, from his time at Wolves, and Andrew Crofts from international duty. He was with the Wales squad preparing for last week’s game against England when the move to Norwich was finalised.
“I’ve been with Crofty for a few years with Wales now, so I know him well, and he’s a great player,” said Vokes.
“I sorted the move out while I was down in Wales so we spoke down there and he was full of admiration for the club.”
Vokes began his career at Bournemouth, then scored eight goals in his first season at Wolves as they won the Championship title in 2008-09. But last season he was loaned out to Leeds and has been on the move again this term.
“I had a nightmare start to the season with injury, I had a hamstring problem, and I was out for about four or five months and it was a battle getting back from that,” he said.
“But I went to Sheffield United for a month or so and got some games under my belt and I’m hoping to build on that now. I’m feeling strong and I just want to push on and build on it.
“It was a weird situation because I signed for the month and for whatever reason they didn’t extend so it was a great opportunity to come here and sign for Norwich.
“It was the low point to my career so far with the injury but at the end of the season to come to a squad like this in a team pushing for promotion is fantastic.
“I want to play games and, I hope, help the lads get promoted. If the gaffer calls on me, I’m ready.
“I’m a striker who likes to get hold of the ball, bring players into play and as any striker, get in the box and score goals.”
Manager Paul Lambert said he was delighted to be able to bring Vokes to the club after Aaron Wilbraham was ruled out for the season following a back operation.
“If we didn’t have somebody like Sam in we were really, really struggling,” he said.
“We had a lot of luck getting Sam – a hell of a lot. He was doing fine for Sheffield United and he was going to renew it but it never happened. I spoke to Mick McCarthy and it transpired from there.
“He’s only 21 but he’s been around for a long while and he scored a lot of goals for Bournemouth.
“I hope we can give him some kind of game time and then he’ll go back to Wolves and fight for his place there.”