Danny Ings is planning on becoming one half of the Championship’s most potent double acts this term.
While supporters wait with bated breath on Charlie Austin’s future at Turf Moor, 21-year-old Ings finds himself in a similar predicament.
The pair have formed an inseparable bond and understanding both on and off the pitch, similar to the partnership that saw Austin and Jay Rodriguez forge a prolific combination with 38 goals during the 2010/11 campaign.
And the former Bournemouth striker is confident that the pair are heading in the same direction following a fruitful pre-season which saw Ings net five times in four outings. However, QPR and Harry Redknapp still reportedly pose a threat to the dissolution of that relationship.
“I’ve been doing okay,” said Ings. “I feel fit and sharp playing as a striker and I’m really enjoying it. We are forming an understanding myself and Charlie. We just get each other’s games, we’re working hard for each other and creating chances.
“We’re forming a partnership and it’s one I’d like to keep going. Obviously football is football and things happen but I’d love him to stay. We’re very good friends. We’ve got the same agent and we go out for food now and then which is nice. It would be a big loss because you form relationships with them but at the same time you know if it was the other way around they’d understand.
“They (Jay and Charlie) had a good relationship on and off the pitch which was evident. They scored loads of goals in that season as well. I’ll take each game as it comes but I won’t be setting any targets this year. I’ll be going out with a smile on my face and enjoying it. As long as I’m enjoying it and working hard I know I’ll score goals.”
Ings admits he has nothing but admiration for his strike partner and the manner in which he’s responded to the collapse of a £4.5m move to the Premier League with Hull City, stating that Austin is looking in the best shape ever ahead of the new season.
“Charlie isn’t like that, he’s the type of lad who’ll just get his head down and keep going,” he said. “He’s looking as fit and as strong as ever and he’s had a good pre-season as well. I think everyone thought that was it and he’d gone but things like that happen in football and it’s unfortunate for him.
“It’s been put to the side, Charlie’s got his head down, worked hard and he’s playing with a smile on his face as well. He got a couple of goals at the weekend with a really good performance.”
Ings has been slapped by misfortune in the past, falling foul to a knee injury in only his second training session at Gawthorpe in August 2011 before another cruel blow saw him limp off in the final pre-season fixture against Rochdale at Spotland last season. But those set-backs have strengthened his character and increased his determination and desire to succeed. Now he’s ready to hit the ground running against Bolton Wanderers tomorrow as part of the Football League’s 125th anniversary celebrations.
“I’m ready for it and I’m so excited,” Ings declared. “The last two years I’ve had bad luck with injuries but that’s behind me now and I’m raring to go. I feel I’ve come back stronger than the last couple of times.
“I haven’t started a season yet so I’m like a kid in the playground at the moment, running around like a headless chicken and wanting to get going.”
Ings added: “I just love playing football and it’s not until you have a long-term injury that you realise how much it means to you. I don’t take anything for granted and I train every day like it’s my last.
“We definitely need a good start and it can’t be any better than playing Bolton at home. It will hopefully be a full house, a good atmosphere and we can get the three points.”