SPECULATION is not a word in Charlie Austin’s vocabulary right now.
While others may be talking about the Championship top scorer’s future, Austin is only focused on the present.
Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton and Newcastle have been linked with the division’s player of the month.
But you won’t find him paying any attention to the reports.
He’s made that mistake before.
“You can’t look at it,” he said. “It happened when I was at Swindon and I lost concentration by getting sucked in to too much of that and I nearly crushed the move I got because my performance dropped,” said Austin, who left the League One club for Turf Moor in January 2011.
“It was the first time I’d had a move and I read too much into it and got overwhelmed.
“I won’t be doing that now. I just want to play my hardest, give 100 per cent every time I pull on a Burnley shirt and go across that white line.
“I’m here, I’ve got a contract with Burnley Football Club and I’m here to play my games for Burnley and give 100 per cent.”
When it comes to being in front of goal, however, Austin is prepared to speculate – to accumulate – hence reaching 20 goals by mid-November.
Manager Sean Dyche believes the hotshot is benefiting from playing without fear, and the 23-year-old agrees.
“I think when you’re confidence is high you get a chance and you miss one you think ‘I’m going to get the next one’,” he said.
“If confidence is low you snap at a shot, but you take your time when you’re confident.
“At the moment every chance I get I’m just trying my hardest to put the ball in the net, but I know there’s another chance around the corner with the service I get from the rest of the team.”
As happy as he is to be on a statistical level footing with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who also have 20 goals each this season also, Austin was just as satisfied to see Sam Vokes get off the mark last weekend.
“I’m happy big Vokesy got his goal and hopefully he can kick on now and he can chip in and score his goals because Sam’s a great player,” said Austin, who felt the Wales international’s header – which went in with the aid of Danny Higginbotham’s deflection – should have counted for more at Ipswich.
“We were unlucky last weekend. I’d have said a draw would have been the right result. But I’m pleased for Vokesy because it’s the way the cookie crumbles with your luck.
“Against Cardiff he’s had two chances – one the keeper’s made a great save and the other was a deflection.
“He said to me after ‘I just want one to go in off my shin’. He didn’t care as long as it went in. So it was good for him to get a goal against Ipswich.”
Austin could score for the seventh home game in a row this afternoon.
But he has no qualms about sharing the goals around.
“I like playing up front on my own, but as long as I’m playing and contributing to the team it doesn’t matter,” he added.
“When big Vokesy comes on he’s a handful for defenders and they don’t like it.
“He’s a big, strong physical lad and not many people will get the better of him and that’s been shown the last three games he's come on.
“People take their eye off me because they’re worried what Vokesy will do.
“I was so chuffed for him to get his goal against Ipswich regardless of what people say (about the manner of it). Vokesy’s scored now and hopefully he can push on and get the goals that he deserves because he's an international player.”
Austin added: “Everyone knows there’s goals in the team. Pato (Martin Paterson) hasn’t always been playing centre forward, but he’s got goals. There are goals in the team from all over.
“As long as we carry on defending as we have been we’re not going to lose many, because we are good going forward.”
Austin has been exceptional this season, but after seeing Champ-ionship counterpart Wilfried Zaha earn an England call-up this week, he isn’t demanding the same recognition.
“You only have to look at the England strikers in the Premier League that didn’t get called up,” he said.
“I’m just doing my job for Burnley and scoring goals and if I get rewarded I get rewarded, but there are a lot of strikers out there that are playing a lot higher than me.
“I’m not up there. I play in the Championship, not the Premier League. If I do get up there I’ll assess that situation when I get there.
“I play for Burnley in the Championship at the moment and I’ve got a job to do in the Championship, score as many goals as I can and that’s what I'm doing.”