Austin not underestimating West Ham clash

By SFC Media Sun 25 Mar West Ham v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin is not underestimating the importance of Southampton’s trip to West Ham next weekend.

The game at the London Stadium – Saints’ first in the Premier League for three weeks – will see two sides just two points apart in the survival race go head to head.

New boss Mark Hughes revealed Austin could make his comeback from a three-month injury lay-off in East London, and the striker has since returned to first-team training.

“It’s massive,” Austin said. “We can’t look beyond the West Ham game – there’s no point. We’ve got to go into that game and we’ve got to win. Points are what’s needed now.

Austin scores from a last-gasp penalty to defeat the Hammers at St Mary's in August

“The fans have really got to buy into what the new manager is going to bring to the table, which they certainly did at the weekend (against Wigan), and I’m sure they will again at the London Stadium.

“We know as a team what we need to do, and, as fans, I’m sure they know what they need to do.

“If we come together and create a massive atmosphere in which everyone comes together, there’s only one way we can go.”

Austin believes the key to retaining the club’s top-flight status is to look ahead with the new management team, rather than dwelling on past results and performances.

“As a football team and as a whole club we need to forget about what has gone on beforehand, and concentrate on this,” he continued.

“Our season has boiled down to eight weeks, regardless of what’s gone on. It’s eight weeks now – that is it.

“We need to all get together as a big group and push forward, dedicating all our time and effort to these eight weeks and demand more from each other if we’re not going in the right direction.

“I’m certain that, with them in charge, we will do.”

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