TOP scorer Charlie Austin is desperate for boss Eddie Howe to stay at Burnley so he can continue to repay his faith.
Howe made Austin his first signing in January, paying out £1.2m for the Swindon Town hitman, having initially spotted his potential while Bournemouth boss. And amid speculation of Portsmouth interest in Howe taking over the reins at his former club, Austin wasn’t taking the rumours too seriously: “He’s a young manager and he used to play there so speculation is going to be that he’s going to go there.
“I had a little worry. Me and Marv had a little chat about it. But we always knew the gaffer wouldn’t go anywhere.
“He’s so strong-minded and he wants to do a job, he’d never leave it unfinished.
“There’s nothing in it so he hasn’t felt the need to say anything to us.
“The lads are 100% behind the manager. If there was something he had to tell us, I’m pretty sure he would.
“I don’t want to lose him and I don’t think we will.”
And Austin hailed Howe for his influence: “He gave me the start to my career. I know Danny Wilson took me to Swindon, but he was the main person to bring me along.
“When I got injured he had faith in me and spoke to me every day and asked how I was getting on through the summer and all the way through pre-season.
“He’s backed me 100%, so I’d like to repay the favour.”
That faith is helping Austin produce his best form on the Championship stage, and after his ninth goal of the season helped beat Blackpool 3-1, he said: “I’d like to think that was one of my best performance for Burnley.
“My hold-up play could have been a bit better, but for my all-round game, I think I did well for myself as well as for the team.
“I can always learn, just keep learning every day when I come into training and work hard and pick up new things. I work hard with the gaffer and my strike partner Jay.
“Me and Jay are not individuals, we’re a strike partnership. You score the goals on your own but we both know together that we’re a partnership. That’s 17 goals for us now.”
Austin always had faith in his ability to find the net regularly at this level, and he added: “I knew I was a goalscorer – I always believed that.
“I know if I get the chances I will eventually put them away. I was stop-start when I first came here, but now I just want to move on and obviously I’ve scored a few goals and I’m chuffed to bits.
“If I can get around 20 in my first season in the Championship I’ll be well pleased.”
He might have had double figures, but squandered the simplest chance of the night, although he could afford a wry smile: “If Torres can do it I’m sure I can!
“When the ball came across I thought ‘yes, I’m in here’, and then when I hit it wide obviously I was gutted. It would have been nice to score again, but the game was won then.
“But I look at my all-round game – aerially and my hold-up play. Everything. I’m improving every day thanks to the coaching staff here.”