LEE Grant is delighted the Championship’s goalkeepers are suffering at the hands of Charlie Austin - as he has to contend with the country’s leading goalscorer in training every day.
Austin has scored in seven successive games, and has 16 for the season - one less than his tally last term.
And after his winner against Blackpool on Saturday, Grant smiled: “I actually nearly fell out with him in training on Thursday or Friday because everything he was hitting was going in, either off his head or his shoulder and going in the top corner, and it was frustrating for me as a goalkeeper because you want to be on the end of things yourself and saving things, and I nearly fell out with him.
“But he’s been fantastic and I’m really pleased for him because he is working hard for it as well.
“Every shot, every strike is important for him. It doesn’t matter if it’s training or out there in front of 20,000 or the Sky cameras, it makes no difference for him.
“It’s good to see him on a really good run, he deserves it.”
He joked: “We’re running out of things to say about him. I didn’t even congratulate him after his goal; I’m not even interested because it’s a bit of a given at the minute.
“But I said to him ‘I will congratulate you on your performance because you played well aside from that.
“It’s just rolling on at the minute.
“I’ve told him not to do anything different from what he’s doing.
“At the minute everything he touches is ending up in the back of the net and long may that continue.”
Austin was the first on the scene to congratulate Grant after his double save from Alex Baptiste and Gary Taylor-Fletcher, and Terry Pashley described it as like the great Gordon Banks’ miraculous stop from Pele in Mexico 1970.
Grant was just thrilled to help earn a first clean sheet since the first league game of the season: “I’m delighted with it. I touched the first one onto the post but I wasn’t sure even after I’d touched it that it was going to stay out of the back of the net.
“Thankfully the post was there as well and it was just a case of getting up as quick as possible, and a little bit of hope that he was going to fire it my way.
“I was pleased with it.
“We do put a lot of work into the second save and getting up as quick as possible, you’re taught it from a young age, so I was really pleased.
“I was pleased with the first one more than anything because I wasn’t even sure I was going to get there.
“I was just happy it stayed out and we got the right result and a clean sheet.
“It was three hard earned points but I thought we were good for that and the clean sheet.
“We were long overdue one, and certainly the three points as well. We’re a happy changing room.”
Grant now hopes the side can remain hard to beat, while retaining that goal threat: “We have talked a lot about it in the changing rooms, there have been some quite frank discussions between us as a side. I think the hard work and the organisation has paid off so I’m really pleased with that one.
“I thought the lads were fantastic. That’s the best we’ve defended since the Bolton game without a doubt.
“We got back to really limiting sides, shots and crosses and goalscoring opportunities and that’s what we haven’t done well enough over the last few weeks.
“We need to do it again at Bristol City and then again the following Saturday at Cardiff.
“It’s been a good result but we know we need to start stringing results together in this division.
“They’re two really tough away games but it seems to be a little bit this season the tougher the game the better we are playing.
“Hopefully that will be the case for the next couple of games.
“But we do need to start stringing results together because it’s really important in this division that if you’re going to try to achieve anything in this league it needs to be with a draw here and there and the odd away win, so we know the next couple of games are important.”