CHARLIE Austin returns to the club who gave him his chance in professional football tonight, determined to show why he’s one of the hottest properties outside the Premier League.
Austin left Swindon Town for Turf Moor in January 2011 in a £1.2m deal, having netted 37 goals in 65 appearances for the Robins, who signed the prolific marksman from non-league Poole Town.
The 23-year-old has taken the step up from League 1 to the Championship in his stride, scoring 26 in 58 games for the Clarets, and he currently sits joint-top in the division’s top-scorers list with Barnsley’s Craig Davies with seven so far this term.
He also has two goals in two games in the Capital One Cup, helping earn a third round tie at his former club, and Austin admitted: “You can say I owe them, and obviously I’m grateful to them for that.
“But I took my chance and I got sold from there and moved to Burnley Football Club.
“Now I’m a Burnley player and I’ve got a job to do there. I’d like to score two or three against them and put Burnley into the next round.
“It will be special but I’m professional enough to know I’ve got a job to do, I’ve got to go there regardless of what reception I get I’ve got to go and do a job for Burnley Football Club, put the ball in the net and get Burnley through to the next round.
“Every time I go on to the pitch at the moment I feel confident enough to put the ball in the net and score, so this will be no different.”
Austin will find a very different Swindon Town, now under the charge of Paolo Di Canio, who instigated a huge turnover of players, leading to their League 2 title success last season: “There are only three players left from when I was there, so to be honest I’ll be going there and it will be more the background staff if anything.
“I’ve got to go there regardless of if I’m playing against friends and do a job for Burnley Football Club.”
When Austin was sold, Swindon went on a 19-game run without a win which led to relegation, but despite the manner of his departure, where he submitted a transfer request, he hopes the fans recognise his impact at the County Ground: “I’d like to think I’d get a good reception, it would be nice, but regardless of what reception I get as a professional you try to block that out and do your stuff on the pitch.
“It was hard to leave at the time but it ended up being the right decision.”
And he anticipates a tricky tie at a ground which has become a fortress: “It will be tough, there’s been a big change-around.
“They’re a big club and they’ll be up there again in League 1, and I wouldn’t be surprised if next year they are a Championship club.
“That’s what they are aiming for.
“But I think we’ve got good quality in our side to go down there and get the result.
“Regardless of whether we change the squad, there’s enough quality.
“We just need to get the result.”
Austin goes into the game on the back of five goals in two appearances, after his match-winning brace at Derby, and he said: “I’ve got to thank the lads for their service to me and their all-round game.
“I didn’t really do a lot in the game, but I got the two chances and put them in the net.
“We played ugly and got the three points.
“We showed what we can do and that we can play ugly.
“I think we needed that and we needed to show the fans and the people watching that there are two ways we can play.”