Austin uses his head to earn Clarets derby day victory

HEAD master Charlie Austin knew exactly where Blackpool’s soft spot was, and clinically exposed it for his 16th goal of a prolific campaign.

The Clarets were fully aware that the Seasiders were susceptible to crosses, with 36% of the total goals they have conceded this season coming from headers - more than any other side in the Championship.

And Burnley went into the game with eight headed goals - another divisional high.

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Lo and behold, when Ross Wallace hoisted an inviting centre into the box 18 minutes in, Austin worked himself the space to head into the turf and into the roof of the net - scoring for the seventh-successive game.

Burnley were well-prepared by caretaker boss Terry Pashley, and Austin admitted: “We saw it on the DVDs, we analyse everything and we’ve seen what’s happened.

“When the ball comes into the box I just drift into these positions and I seem to be free at the moment.

“But if it wasn’t for my team then I wouldn’t be getting in those positions to score the goals. It was another great ball by Ross and I was just at the back stick.”

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Austin has now netted in derby wins over Bolton and Blackpool so far this term, with the big one against Blackburn in just under six weeks’ time.

Asked about the chances of a hat-trick of goals, he smiled: “That would be nice.”

When that game comes around, the Clarets will be under new management, but Austin hailed Pashley for his work over a week following the departure of Eddie Howe: “It was a good team performance, especially considering what’s gone on in the last week.

“Pash has done a great job. What Eddie Howe did was brilliant but Pash has come in and taken it on.

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“He comes in every day, makes us have a smile on our face, is really enthusiastic about what he does and what the players do, and the last week has been fun.

“The lads put in a performance that was worthy of a victory.

“He’s made it harder for us to get beat. We defended really well as well as going forward.

“We knew it was going to happen sooner or later, it just had to click for us and it did.

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“We knew the new manager may be watching but we had a job to do.

“That’s not something we can affect, we can only affect what’s going on on the pitch and we did that really well.”

Austin was Howe’s first signing and Austin admits it has been a strange time after he left to return to Bournemouth: “We all needed time off after what went on.

“We didn’t know if the gaffer was going and then he did, so it was nice for us to have that time off.

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“We came back in and we knew we’d have hard work to do. Pash is well known around the club, he’s a great guy and he’s helped the lads and lifted us all week.

“But last Friday was really difficult.

“I had to get my head around it. I needed the days off and spent it with my family.

“I went back down to Bournemouth – but don’t read too much into that, it’s just where my mum and dad live!

“So I went down there and spent some time with them and it was really nice.

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“I came back here and Tuesday I knew I had to get down to work.

“I’m a Burnley football player, and I’ve got a job to do, and I’d like to say I did that.”

Now Austin hopes to take confidence from the win over a fine Blackpool side into a tricky week on the road at Bristol City and Cardiff: “Hopefully we can get another result at Bristol. We didn’t do too well down there last year but hopefully we can go there and do really well.”

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