Austin back in the groove ahead of the derby

THE two most-talked about strikers in the Championship go head to head on Sunday.

Thursday, 29th November 2012, 2:30 pm

Burnley’s 21-goal hitman Charlie Austin is up against Blackburn’s £8m man Jordan Rhodes, who has 15 to his name, including three for Scotland.

All eyes are on Austin - fancied to become the first player since Peter Noble to score against Rovers at Turf Moor, almost 34 years ago.

But he admits that it doesn’t matter who finds the back of the net as long as Sean Dyche’s men pick up the club’s first derby triumph over their fiercest rivals in nearly three-and-a-half decades.

Austin was on target in the 1-1 draw at Barnsley on Tuesday night, and said: “It was nice to get back in the groove. I have been putting in performances but a goal hadn’t come in the three games so it was nice to get back on the record.

“I can’t score in every game so I just need to put in the performances and help the team as much as I can. I got the goal against Barnsley which I’m chuffed to bits about. I’ve been putting in a lot of team performances over the last few games which I’m happy with.

“I am a team player. I will help the lads and I am chuffed to bits whoever scores.

“But it’s nice to go into the game full of confidence.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a massive game and we will go into it full of confidence and hopefully put in a good performance against them.

“I’m really looking forward to it. There is a lot of hype about the game and the players know what we have to do. We have to get our heads down and put in a performance like we did against Bolton.

“It’s there for somebody – but whoever scores it won’t matter. It can be an own-goal, as long as we put in a performance and get a result. It would be nice to score but I just want to win the game.

“Like any derby game it’s going to be massive. I’m looking forward to it and so are the lads because we know how much it means to Burnley and the fans. Hopefully we can get the three points.”

The Clarets entertain Blackburn at Turf Moor (kick-off 12-30 p.m.) aiming for their first win over their old rivals since April 14th, 1979.

Since that time, Burnley came within a game of losing their Football League status, while Jack Walker’s millions bankrolled a Premier League title success at Ewood Park.

The sides have met eight times in the intervening years, but Rovers have won seven of those encounters.

Six Burnley managers have tried to record a derby victory but fallen short, and Dyche hopes to set the record straight.

He said: “I’m beginning to understand how big it is for the supporters, people can’t wait to tell me about it!

“But I’m looking forward to it, why wouldn’t you?

“It’s a big game and an important game for the club in general.

“You want players to experience big-game atmospheres, and to grow with Burnley Football Club, and if they go onwards and upwards, the big games come thick and fast then.”