In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former Premier League striker Dean Windass has backed Charlie Austin to be handed his first Premier League start for West Brom this evening.
The 31-year-old had fallen out-of-favour under former Baggies boss Slaven Bilic, but the Croatian was sacked earlier this week and quickly replaced by survival veteran Sam ‘the firefighter’ Allardyce.
His first game in charge will be tonight as Albion host arch-rivals Aston Villa at the Hawthorns.
Austin only made the bench twice in West Brom’s opening 11 matches before Bilic called upon him as a substitute in his final two matches in charge.
Windass believes that Big Sam could turn to him in their time of need…
He told FFC:
“Charlie’s a born goalscorer. Any balls in the box, you know where he’ll be.
“He’s coming towards the end of his career as well, but Sam will look at that and say ‘Yeah, I need goals. Yes, I need to stop goals, but I [also] need to start scoring goals,’ so Charlie could go straight in there [vs Villa].
“He knows he will get them a goal, so yeah, that could be a massive plus for Charlie now. A new manager has come in, and he’ll say ‘Go on then, go and prove to me [that you should be starting].
“Charlie’s a proud lad and is very good around the changing room. He’ll have been hurt when not playing.”
Albion paid £4m for Austin during the 2019 summer transfer window, and he finished as their top goalscorer in all competitions on their way to promotion despite only starting 18 times in the Championship.
As Windass claims, it could be a wise decision to turn to Austin as the veteran has played 108 times in the Premier League alone, contributing to a total of 44 goals.
Big Sam has been known to play two up-top, so there is also a chance we see both feature this evening.