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Mee hails ace Claret Austin
BEN Mee says he would not swap Charlie Austin for any other striker in the Championship after the former Swindon man struck both goals in Burnley’s 2-1 win at Derby on Saturday.
A number of clubs have spent big money on forwards this summer, with Blackburn Rovers shelling out £8m on Jordan Rhodes, but it was Austin who shot to the top of the Championship scoring chart after making it an incredible five goals in his last two games.
Austin returned from a hip injury that kept him on the sidelines in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Leicester, and now has seven league goals in total this term – two more than Rhodes.
And Mee, who also impressed after returning to the side at left back to help the Clarets claim their first away points of the season, was full of praise for the way Burnley’s goal star has started the season despite the sale of strike partner Jay Rodriguez in the summer.
“With the way he’s playing, he’s banging in goals for fun and his record speaks itself,” Mee said.
“He’s on fire and, no, we wouldn’t swap him for anyone.
“He’s stepped up to the plate really well this season.
“Chas just scores for fun, that’s what he’s about, headers and any types of goals, he’s been really good for us.
“We missed him the other night and hopefully he can keep fit and he’ll bang in the goals for us all season.”
Eddie Howe acknowledged after Saturday’s game that such a scoring run is like to bring admirers, saying: “I’d rather have the goals and the attention on him.
“I’m sure he’ll be linked here, there and everywhere, but we need his goals. We just want him to keep scoring.”
And that view was echoed by Mee, who was reluctant to assess what Austin must be worth in today’s game.
“We want to keep him so we don’t want to put a price tag on him,” Mee said.
“He’s obviously doing well at the minute and hopefully he continues doing that with us.
“He’s massively important to us.”
It was the second time in two seasons that Austin had scored twice in a 2-1 win at Pride Park, with the Clarets coming from behind to claim victory on Saturday.
Mee was also delighted to earn praise from Howe, who described the defender as ‘magnificent’ after being recalled ahead of Joseph Mills in a bid to bring fresh legs to the side.
The 23-year-old was starting his first league game of the season and said: “I was a bit frustrated, I’m not going to lie.
“But I just wanted my chance and hopefully I can stay in the team now and keep performing like I did on Saturday.
“We like to keep things tight and we wanted a clean sheet, which didn’t happen. We conceded an early goal and we were a bit disappointed with that.
“But we came back and showed a bit of character, which is always good, and we got our first away win of the season.
“It was a great result. We ground it out, we were under the cosh a little bit and then Charlie came up with a great header.
“In the second half we just had to dig deep and it was a classic away performance, defending and then on the counter attack.
“It turned out quite well.”
The Clarets travel to League One side Swindon Town in the third round of the Capital One Cup tomorrow night and Howe will assess Junior Stanislas, who came off with a hamstring problem on Saturday. Michael Duff missed a second successive match with an Achilles injury.
“Junior had two very tight hamstrings, whether he’s tweaked one we’re not sure yet,” he said.
“Duffo wasn’t far away, so I’m sure he’ll be in contention in the next couple of weeks.”
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