Charlie Austin will be more determined than ever to get among the goals for Queens Park Rangers against Crystal Palace this Saturday, with more than just Premier League survival potentially riding on his performance.
The 25-year-old is in the midst of a fantastic debut season in the English top-flight, having scored 14 goals in 23 outings already for the Rs this term.
It’s a return that has not only given the west Londoners some hope of staying up this season but also caught the eye of England manager Roy Hodgson.
With a series of internationals just around the corner and the Three Lions seemingly set to qualify for Euro 2016 with ease, an Austin call-up could yet be on the cards.
But that’s only the start for the former Swindon Town and Burnley forward, who is reportedly attracting admiring glances from elsewhere in the Premier League.
Ronald Koeman may be one of those suitors, with several news outlets reporting that the Dutchman is considering a summer bid to bring Austin to Southampton.
A move to the Saints could prove the ideal switch for the 25-year-old, with the club’s philosophy of promoting English talent likely to prove beneficial.
Both Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez were given their big breaks by Southampton and, after thriving at the south coast club, ultimately earned England call-ups.
Though present reports suggest Austin’s Loftus Road exit is dependent on whether QPR stay in the Premier League or are relegated, that may not necessarily be the case.
Fire the Rs to safety – starting with a goal against Crystal Palace at the weekend – and it’s unlikely that anyone at the club would stand in the striker’s way, with the Rs still some way short of balancing the books.
Third bottom in the Premier League and three points from safety, it’s shaping up to be a crunch weekend for both QPR and Austin.
Fortunately, with two goals in his last three games for Rangers, including a goal in their most recent away fixture, the former Poole Town man may be set for another Roy of the Rovers-style appearance.
Ladbrokes has boosted the odds of Austin scoring first against Palace from 6/1 to 7/1 while opposite Eagles number Dwight Gayle has moved from 9/2 to 11/2.
Find the net against the south Londoners though, and that may earn him the title of Saint Austin for more than one reason.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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