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Austin backs Clarets trio to blaze a trail
CHARLIE Austin insists Burnley’s trio of strikers are fighting fit and ready to blaze a goal trail this season.
Austin and fellow front men Martin Paterson and Danny Ings were all beset by injuries last term.
Ings missed the start after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage at the end of only his second training session, following his move from Bournemouth last August.
He was soon joined on the sidelines by Paterson, who suffered a thigh muscle tear in the opening day draw with Watford.
Austin had begun the season by leading the goal charts with five in his first six games.
But he was left playing catch-up to Jay Rodriguez after missing three weeks with a dislocated shoulder.
All three have, however, reported back for pre-season injury-free.
And Austin is determined to stay that way as the Clarets look to mount a Championship challenge, and stay among the goals after ending the 2011/12 campaign with a run of six goals in five games, including a career-first hat-trick.
“It was frustrating for all of us last season,” said the 23-year-old hitman.
“Pato did his thigh and then there was Ingsy with his knee and me with my shoulder. We all had stop-start seasons but we’re looking to put that behind us now and push on, hopefully staying injury free.
“We’ve seen glimpses in the last six months of what Ingsy can do. He’s a real good player. And everyone knows what Martin is capable of.”
Austin and Ings have made a goalscoring start to pre-season with two goals each in friendlies with Altrincham and Bury.
Paterson has yet to get off the mark, but has demonstrated his usual awareness and movement, and was unlucky to be denied by the post in the first game.
The sale of 21-goal top scorer Jay Rodriguez in the summer has left big shoes to fill, but Austin said the striker’s departure has given all of them the incentive to step up to the plate.
“He’s a big player and brought a lot to the team, but we wish him all the best,” said the former Swindon hotshot.
“It’s up to the rest of us to fill the void. There are still plenty of goals in this team.
“When you lose your best player, at any club, everyone digs in and you move on.
“For any striker you want to finish top scorer. That’s the incentive.”
Austin, who ended last season just behind Rodriguez with 17 goals, said: “I never set myself targets.
“I was happy with my return last season considering the dry spell I had and the injury. The last month gave me a big boost and I’m looking to take that on into the new season.”
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