Redknapp backs former Wessex ace Charlie Austin to follow in footsteps of Rickie Lambert and Kevin Phillips

Former Wessex League striker Charlie Austin

Former Wessex League striker Charlie Austin

First published in Premier League

Harry Redknapp has backed former Wessex League striker Charlie Austin to become the latest former non-League star to make a successful transition to life in the top-flight.

Bricklayer-turned-goalscorer Austin, whose goals took Poole Town to the Wessex title in 2008, handed QPR Barclays Premier League lift-off yesterday, firing his first top-level goal in a 1-0 home victory over Sunderland.

The 25-year-old's powerful drive ended QPR’s 315-minute goal drought at the start of the new campaign, easing pressure on boss Redknapp.

QPR are expected to sign a replacement striker for Loic Remy, who this atfernoon signed for Chelsea, before tomorrow’s transfer window closure, but still backed Austin to make the Premier League grade.

“There are lots of strikers that have come out of lower-league football,” said Redknapp, of the former Swindon and Burnley forward.

“Obviously recently there's the likes of Rickie Lambert and before that Kevin Phillips, and it's great to see that hopefully chances are still there to move through the levels.

“And hopefully Charlie can be another who does the same thing in the long term.

“He took his goal very well, it's great for him.

“Thursday was the first time he'd trained for two weeks after his hamstring problem, so to get 60-odd minutes out of him was a bonus.”

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