Championship

Luring linked-away Charlie Austin back to Loftus Road could hugely enhance QPR’s promotion hopes

Luring linked-away Charlie Austin back to Loftus Road could hugely enhance QPR’s promotion hopes

According to a recent report from The Daily Telegraph, Charlie Austin’s future is far from certain heading into the final few days of the January transfer window. The 29-year-old currently plays his football at Premier League side Southampton and has done so since leaving Queens Park Rangers back in 2016, although struggles for regular game time under new Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has called his future at St Mary’s into question.

And a recent report from The Daily Telegraph suggests that the striker could be set for a move away this month, with Aston Villa and Wolves reportedly interested in the hotshot, as should QPR boss Steve McClaren as luring the Englishman back to Loftus Road could hugely enhance his side’s promotion hopes in the second half of the season.

The Breakdown

Ultimately, the Hoops have bounced back admirably from a shocking start to the Championship season to sit 14th in the second tier after 28 games of the campaign – there may be a fair few teams between them and the top six, but the gap to sixth place Derby County currently stands at just six points.

As such, promotion is still very much a possibility for the Londoners this term if they can improve their recent run of form, with McClaren’s men having failed to win any of their last four league matches, in which time they have managed to pick up just two points.

Thus, things have somewhat stagnated at Loftus Road to suggest that reinforcements in the last knockings of the transfer window could hugely benefit QPR in their quest to get out of the rut and mount a promotion charge – and with just 34 goals scored so far this term, only two teams above them in the league have bagged fewer, striking improvements appear to be the order of the day.

And former attacker Austin could well be the ideal man to spearhead a promotion charge.

The 29-year-old may well have struggled for regular football at Southampton following the appointment of Hasenhuttl last month, starting just twice under the Austrian in the Premier League, but one mustn’t forget the excellent goal-scoring form he produced during his two-and-a-half year spell at Loftus Road.

The Englishman, who bagged 44 goals in just 90 games for Burnley to thus earn a move to the West London club, scored 47 times in only 89 appearances for the Hoops to help them win promotion to the Premier League in 2013/14, before doing his utmost to keep them there with 18 top-flight goals the season after as they eventually lost their top-tier status.

Yet the striker remained at Loftus Road in the first half of the 2015/16 season to help QPR regroup and solidify after a tough Premier League adventure, bagging ten times in 16 games before Southampton sealed a deal for his services in the January – clearly though, Austin produced some of the best football of his career during his time in the capital.

And a return to QPR may well be of interest to the 29-year-old given just how much of a struggle things have been at Southampton recently – he has shown glimpses of promise throughout his spell at St Mary’s, but he has rarely been able to nail down a regular starting place, with injuries a big reason for his difficulties.

But with the Hoops still very much in position to launch a promotion challenge in the second half of the campaign, plenty of teams over the years have been in worse positions than McClaren’s men and gone on to make the top six, adding the prolific ace would surely aid those hopes.

QPR fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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