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Stock: Burnley cannot afford to lose air-some Austin
BRIAN Stock fears Burnley will need to work hard to keep hold of Charlie Austin – if not in this transfer window then almost certainly the next.
Jordan Rhodes’ £8million move from Huddersfield Town to Blackburn Rovers could put the spotlight on another Champion-ship hotshot.
And Stock can see why. For the midfielder rates him as one of the best goal threats he has worked with in his 13 years in professional football.
“Steve Fletcher at Bournemouth was probably the best I’ve played with in the air, but given Charlie’s height and frame it’s amazing how, against big centre halves, he gets on the end of crosses,” said the 30-year-old.
“He’s a handful. The one thing I like about him is that he’s aggressive, he reminds of an old school forward where he’ll rough up the centre half, which I think is great.
“He’s great to play with.
“I said to the manager and the assistant manager when I was having a chat with them that he is probably one of the best I’ve played with in getting on the end of crosses.
“When you’ve got the likes of Trippier down the wing I’m sure he’s thinking just get it in the box and we’ve got a great chance of scoring with (Charlie) in the box.
“His timing and his goal ratio is unbelievable.
“That will stand us in good stead this season because you know if you put balls in the box he’s a real threat.”
But while an in-form Austin is great for Burnley, it also exposes him to attention from elsewhere which, with the transfer deadline looming for the last time until January, Stock is hoping the Clarets can fend off.
“If he carries on the way he’s going I’d be amazed if he didn’t attract a bit of interest.
“It’s important the club keeps him if they want success at the club,” said the Wales international, who celebrated his first home start by firing the winning penalty in the Capital One Cup shoot-out with Plymouth.
Attentions turn back to the Championship tomorrow with the visit of Brighton, and Burnley’s bid to bounce back from consecutive defeats against a team they twice recorded feisty 1-0 wins over last season – the first playing nine men for the majority after two early red cards.
“I think we were extremely unlucky not to get something out of the Middlesbrough game,” said Stock.
“Huddersfield was a tough game where I think one or two would admit we weren’t 100 per cent right in the game.
“These things happen, but if you start to worry about the last result you could get hurt in the next game, so it’s important we get our heads right for Saturday.
“I’ve heard about the games against Brighton last year.
“They’ve not gone into detail too much but they said there were a couple sent off within the first few minutes.
“They said they held on and Brighton had a one-on-one chance last minute, things like that.
“It might get a bit heated but if we can keep a cool head and maintain 11 players on the pitch we’ll have a great chance of beating them.”
And three more points at home – following on from the opening day win over Bolton – would represent a good start, says Stock.
“I was very impressed with the first game, watching the lads I thought we controlled the game from start to finish against a very good Bolton side so we need to recall on that on Saturday,” he continued.
“We put in a good performance against Middlesbrough and got beat by three fantastic goals, but I think we can take a lot of heart from the first couple of performances.
“Everyone knows we need to improve on the Huddersfield performance but if we can maintain what we did in the first game we’ll be okay.”
Stock could be in line for his first league start after coming through 120 minutes against Plymouth unscathed, although he felt there was room for improvement in his performance.
“I feel fresh, my fitness feels good. I’ve got no signs of any injuries from the past, and that’s success for me,” he said.
“I wasn’t totally satisfied with my performance the other night. The major aspect of my game is my passing and I felt that was probably one of the weakest parts of my game on Tuesday.
“I tried to not let it affect me and tried to get around the pitch and put tackles in – the ugly side of the game as best I could.
“Sometimes when things aren’t going your way you have to rely on that side of the game.
“It’s something I’ll have to work at day in day out in training and hopefully if I get another chance I’ll take it.”
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