CHARLIE Austin is ready to rediscover his blistering pre-injury form and help refuel Burnley’s play-off push.
The Clarets top scorer blazed a goal trail before enduring a frustrating five-week lay-off with a hamstring problem.
Austin had signed off with 23 goals from 27 appearances – including an eight-game scoring streak – before sitting out the whole of January.
The striker picked up where he left off by scoring just 60 seconds into his comeback game at Peterborough less than two weeks ago.
Burnley went on to draw the game at London Road 2-2 – their only point from a possible nine following defeats to Birmingham and Bolton either side of that fixture.
Their recent run has left them seven points off the top six, after Tuesday night’s opponents Middlesbrough ended a five-game losing streak in the Championship with a 1-0 win over Leeds in midweek.
But with 15 games to go, Austin is eager to make his mark on their play-off challenge.
“I’ve got 24, there’s 15 games to go and hopefully I can go on a run like I did before,” he said.
“That would be perfect.
"If I could score as many goals as I can from now to the end of the season it would be good for me and good for the team. We need to get back on track.
“We don’t want to fade away and be a mid-table team again.
“We don’t want that because we’re in a real good position now.
“There are three or four teams around us with similar points but we know if we can get on a two or three game run that will get us in there, and I think that’s what we need.”
Burnley won three of their five games without Austin to climb to seventh in the Championship, before slipping down to ninth. But on a personal note injury came at a bad time for the striker.
"The injury was frustrating because I was in good form, not only goalscoring but I thought my all-round game. I was at my best,” he said.
"I was doing really well and moving really well so to get that was a downer. No footballer likes to be injured.
"But I'm back now and looking forward to carrying on playing to the end of the season.
"I'm getting my fitness up. It's all about getting my match fitness, that's the main thing.
"I don't think people realise that you can train but you need to get that match fitness up and I'm pretty much there now.
"I'm still working hard every day in training, hoping it all comes together."
The Clarets are still no closer to securing Austin to a new contract at Turf Moor, with the striker now having less than 18 months to run on his current deal.
Celtic admitted an interest in the former Swindon man in January but Austin insists he must focus only on his form in the remaining months of the season.
"I'm just getting on and working hard and hopefully things can continue for me at Burnley Football Club," he said.
"I can only control what's happening on the pitch with my own performances."