BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Mark Warburton reckons there are no fitness concerns with Charlie Austin – with the 31-year-old poised to make his QPR return at Luton Town tonight.
The experienced striker has signed on loan from West Brom for the remainder of the Championship campaign.
Austin last scored in July and has made five top-flight appearances this season – all as a substitute.
He is a huge fans’ favourite at the west London club after netting 48 goals in 98 appearances.
R’s manager Warburton said: “He is a welcome addition, in terms of his quality. He’s a proven goalscorer – no doubt about that.
“He’s been at the club before and comes alive in the box. He’s got great experience and he’s only 31 years of age, so you hope very much that there are some good years left in him.
“That was my question to him, about the hunger and desire – that seems to be there in abundance.
“He’ll benefit us on the pitch but also working with the younger players – Macauley, Lyndon and young Charlie Kelman. I hope very much that mentor effect will be very, very positive for everyone involved.
“There is more work to be done in January to freshen up the squad due to the demands of the games.”
Warburton is adamant Austin is ready to make an immediate impact.
“He is fit and strong. Even the guys here have said they have never seen him look so fit.
“Those were the obvious problems posed – where are you fitness wise? And he’s in a very good place. He was very keen to work hard after the game on Saturday.
“It’s quite bizarre, I was asked if there was any news on Charlie Austin joining [following the FA Cup tie against Fulham] and he was jogging on the pitch behind us.
“Vision awareness of some of the reporters isn’t quite what it used to be!”
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