Date: 22nd March 2018 at 1:54pm
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Charlie Austin has declared himself fit and raring to go as he returns to first team training this week after three months on the sidelines with injury.

The striker tore his hamstring back in the one all draw with Huddersfield Town at St Mary’s last December, and his goal in the game took him to six strikes in five starts and it was undoubtedly a blow to lose him given his form.

Taking to the training pitch once more this week as he looks to make a return, he told saintsfc.

‘It`s been a frustrating time, being injured. It wasn`t like being out for two weeks – it`s been 14 weeks now. I was in such good form and that was the hard thing, because I`d had to bide my time for ages to get in. When I did get in, it was all going well personally. I was helping the team and we weren`t losing many games. Then the injury came and I thought ‘this is all I need`. I knew I`d done something bad because I`ve done a few hamstrings before but never as bad as that.’

With Southampton sitting in 18th place in the table, two points off safety, Austin’s aim is clear for the remainder of 2017/18.

‘It`s great to be back with the lads. All the hard work I`ve done with the physios and Bill (Styles, first team sports scientist) has paid off and hopefully I can stay fit until the end of the season. Now I`m back, we`ve got a big eight weeks and I`ll put all my energy into helping the team drive forward to stay in the Premier League.’

He added.

‘It`s pressure. Some people like being in those scenarios, some people hide from it. You`ve got to embrace it – as men and as footballers. We`re under a lot of pressure at the moment, don`t get me wrong, but we need to push forward. Being a big character that I am and part of this great team, I feel there`s enough character, talent and work ethic, and with the new coaching staff coming in with new ideas, it`s going to really help us.’

Making a return to training, Austin will be looking to impress new manager Mark Hughes to win his place back in the first team, and he admitted he’d been impressed with his methods so far.

‘When the gaffer came in he said ‘look, we`re here for eight weeks. There`s no getting away from it, we`ve all got to put all our energies and efforts into these eight weeks to get ourselves into a cup final and stay in the Premier League`. Everyone knows that is the ultimate goal for us now. There has been a change in everyone around the training ground – a change in attitude. Commitment maybe? I don`t know.’

Austin went on to say.

‘Sometimes you need that change. What they`ve brought so far has been fantastic, and hopefully that will continue. It`s not just him. Mark Bowen is here and Eddie Niedzwiecki, which is great, because they`re all having their say and having their input, which is important because you`re not just hearing the same voice. But if the gaffer wants to get his point across, he certainly does that.’

With Hughes being a former striker during his playing days, Austin also felt that would be an advantage to help him improve his own game further.

‘It`s going to help. Any little bits are going to help and you can pick his brain on certain things. If he sees weakness in parts of your game, he can help and I`m sure he will. To work with someone like him is exciting.’

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