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Charlie’s back!

CHARLIE Austin is back at QPR!

The 31-year-old striker has joined the club on loan from West Bromwich Albion for the remainder of the season.

Austin became a firm fans’ favourite during a two-and-a-half-year stay in W12 between 2013 and 2016, scoring 48 goals in 89 appearances.

He played a crucial role in the club’s promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2014, netting 20 goals, including both in our 2-1 semi-final win over Wigan Athletic at Loftus Road.

Despite scoring 18 in the top flight in 2014/15 – bettered only by Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Diego Costa - Austin was unable to prevent the club’s relegation in 2014/15.

After leaving QPR to join Southampton in January 2016, Austin signed for the Baggies in 2019 where he helped them achieve automatic promotion last season.

Now he is back at Rangers and relishing the opportunity to pull on the blue and white hoops once again.

“I am delighted,” he said. “When I was told there was a chance of it happening I grabbed it with both hands.

“Walking into the ground today has brought a lot of the memories back. It’s special for me and special for my family.”

Austin is now keen to build on his reputation with the R’s fans, adding: “I’ve matured as a footballer and as a person, and now it’s time for me to help the club get out of the position they’re in, that’s why I’m here.”

Austin admits his connection with the club played a big part in his decision to return, explaining: “The love is there. There is a special bond between my family and QPR.

“I know people are going to question about coming back and ruining my reputation. I don’t think I am going to do that one bit. I am here to succeed.”

“I still have plenty of fire in my belly.”

QPR boss Mark Warburton is looking forward to adding Austin to his squad for the second half of the campaign.

“I am absolutely delighted we have been able to bring Charlie in,” Warburton said.

“There are two reasons why I’m so pleased. The first is because of his undoubted quality, experience and standing in the game.

“The second reason is because of Charlie’s hunger and desire to return to the club.

“When you have players who have been in the Premier League, earning Premier League money, one of the big questions you have is about their hunger.

“In Charlie’s case, he has it by the bucketloads.”

Warburton believes Austin’s arrival will give everyone in the squad a big lift, not least the strikers.

“Charlie’s experience will be great for the squad, and great for Lyndon (Dykes), Macca (Bonne) and Charlie Kelman,” he said.

“They will all benefit from training with him day in, day out.”

As Rangers look to steer themselves away from the relegation zone, Warburton says the capture of

Austin speaks volumes about the commitment of the Board.

“This signing is a message of intent from the owners, the Board, Lee Hoos and Les Ferdinand,” he said.

“In terms of our league position, we have let ourselves down but I believe Charlie will enjoy the way we play and be a huge asset for us.”

Austin, who featured last Saturday for West Brom against Arsenal, could make his second QPR debut on Tuesday evening when we visit Luton Town.

He will wear squad number 45.

I am here to succeed - I still have plenty of fire in my belly.

Charlie Austin