INJURED Charlie Austin has been boosted by the prospect of only a short-term lay-off.

The striker feared the worst after suffering a dislocated shoulder for the third time in 14 months.

Austin needed surgery and was ruled out for the season the last time it happened, during a training session at the end of February.

But after visiting a specialist yesterday he was told the recovery would not be as long on this occasion, although he will certainly miss tonight’s game at Birmingham City.

“Charlie has seen a specialist and it appears to be good news; certainly as good as we could have hoped for,” said manager Eddie Howe.

“He will have a further scan at the end of the week and we’ll know more then, but we’re hopeful to have him back in action much sooner than we feared.”

It is welcome news to Austin, who revealed he was struggling to come to terms with the prospect of another injury lay-off after leading the goal trail with joint top scorer Jay Rodriguez this season.

Although a second scan on Friday will give him a clearer idea of a timescale, the early prognosis appears positive after the shoulder corrected itself within 20 minutes of coming out of the socket.

But the nine-goal striker, who was in tears when he went off against Leeds following a freak fall, said: “I’m down. I don’t really want to be out but I suppose I have to be.

“There’s nothing I can do - I’ve done it three times now.

“I keep thinking ‘why has it come out again?’ and asking questions.

“It hurt at the time, but there’s the emotion of having to go through the process of being out again when I’ve been in quite good form.”

But the 22-year-old admitted he had been encouraged by the support of his team-mates and Leeds defender Pat Kisnorbo, who stayed with Austin until he was carried off the pitch.

“He was great on Saturday. I get on with him quite well and he said ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. He kept chatting to me,” he said.

“It made me feel a bit better.”

Speaking at the training ground, ahead of tonight’s game at St Andrew’s, Austin added: “This is the last place I want to be at the moment because all the lads have got games coming up and I’m not involved.

“I want to get it sorted. I want to continue the form I’ve been in.

“But hopefully the lads can get a few wins while I’m out.”

Austin was ruled out for a month the first time his shoulder was dislocated, in September last year while he was still with Swindon Town.

His £1million January move to Burnley was soured a month later when he suffered a recurrence on the training ground. The former Poole Town forward underwent surgery to rectify the problem on that occasion, and was ruled out for the rest of the season.

Although Burnley’s assistant manager, Jason Tindall, is pleased with Austin’s early assessment, he insists the striker will not be rushed back.

“It’s a shame because he’s been in great form, he’s been scoring goals and building up a great partnership with Jay Rodriguez,” he said.

“They were starting to do really well, so it’s a blow losing a goalscorer like Charlie.

“The most important thing is his health though, and we have to make sure he recovers in the right way and makes a full recovery.

“We’ll not put any pressure on him to return sooner than he can.”

Austin returned from his previous setback to take the Championship by storm this season, with eight of his nine goals coming in the league.

And Tindall has backed him to come back even stronger next time around.

“Charlie’s a young lad with a very bright future in front of him,” said the assistant manager.