Danny Mills has cast doubts over whether Charlie Austin will be able to feature regularly for West Brom after his move to the Hawthorns.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds and England defender says that the intense nature of the Championship’s fixture schedule could prove too much for the former Southampton striker after his injury problems over the years.
West Brom confirmed the capture of Austin on a two-year deal on transfer deadline day, having struggled to make the desired impact at the Saints.
Mills says the Baggies will have to manage Austin’s playing time carefully if they want to keep him fit and firing, with age and his injury history counting against him.
Mills told Football Insider: “Charlie Austin is no spring chicken, but he’s an out-and-out goalscorer. If you give him service, he sticks the ball in the back of the net. You can’t expect him to run too often but getting inside that penalty area, he will score you goals no matter what.
“If you use him sparingly, that’s going to be the key. He’s struggled with injuries in the past but if he’s not going to play week in, week out – you’ve got to use him as and when needs be, when his body is right,
“Keep him fit and you’ve got a real player on your hands. I don’t think he can play Saturday, Tuesday throughout the season. If you’ve got one or two injury problems or niggles, it’s really tough to do that and stay sharp.”
As alluded to by Mills, Austin has suffered with a number of major and minor injury problems throughout his career, including a hamstring problem and a shoulder issue.
The 30-year-old played 27 times for Southampton last season but scored just three goals, two of those coming in the Premier League.
He has a better rate of scoring in the Championship, with 66 goals in 129 second tier games.