Charlie Austin’s return from injury couldn’t have come at a better time for Mark Hughes. The fact the 6 foot 2 striker is still Southampton’s top scorer this season despite missing the last three months is telling enough of how detrimental a lack of fire power has been on the south coast.
But Austin is on the verge of returning just as Southampton enter a final run-in that will determine their Premier League status, perhaps the most significant fixture being this weekend at the London Stadium against fellow surprise relegation rivals West Ham.
With that in mind, we posed Southampton fans a curious question earlier this week. Considering the gravity of the game, we asked whether they would risk starting Austin on Saturday despite him lacking match fitness – which only increases the chances of another injury that could potentially end his season and see him miss some crucial games.
And our poll revealed that although there is no huge consensus on the issue, a slim majority of Saints fans would risk playing the 28-year-old from the start this weekend. Who would you partner Austin with in attack? Let us know by commenting below…