Konchesky: Charlie Austin’s future is key to QPR’s hopes this season

QPR striker Charlie Austin scored twice against Brighton, taking his tally to 10 goals in 16 games

QPR striker Charlie Austin scored twice against Brighton, taking his tally to 10 goals in 16 games - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Paul Konchesky believes it is vital for QPR to hang on to star striker Charlie Austin throughout the January transfer window if they harbour aspirations of promotion this season.

QPR defender Paul Konchesky

QPR defender Paul Konchesky - Credit: EMPICS Sport

The striker struck twice against Brighton on Tuesday night as QPR recovered from being two goals down to salvage a well-earned point.

He has now scored 10 goals in 16 games this season, underlining why he is likely to be a target for a number of Premier League clubs in January.

But the 26-year-old stated after the match that he is “not going anywhere” – and Konchesky is hopeful his team-mate will stay in W12 to help fire Rangers into contention for promotion.

He said: “Charlie showed the instinct that he’s got. Give him a chance and he will score.

“We can’t rely on him all the time but this time we have and he’s nicked two goals for us. Everyone can see what he can do in front of goal and hopefully he’ll keep banging in goals for us and for himself.

“Of course there will be interest in him – there was in the summer – but we know Charlie and he’ll keep working until, or if, anything happens.

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“He gives his all in every training session and game and hopefully he’ll still be here in January to fire us up the league.”

After an impressive first half against Brighton, QPR failed to find a breakthrough and a slow start to the second period was punished by the visitors, who scored a quick-fire double, leaving Rangers staring at a home defeat.

However, Austin struck a double of his own, and Konchesky feels it was a point gained rather than two lost: “Being 2-0 down you’d take a point,” he said. “One of the goals wasn’t acceptable.

“It’s not a goalkeeper’s night because it was wet and slippery so I think Rob will feel he could have done better and maybe the first goal was a foul [on Sandro] but that’s life.

“After being 2-0 down, I think that’s when we started playing and we’ve got a point out of it. We could have maybe got three.

“We see it as a point gained, it’s better than losing three, so we’ll take the point and we’ll build on that for Saturday at Bristol City.”

The point means QPR remain unbeaten under their new boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who has drawn both of his opening games at Loftus Road, following Saturday’s goalless draw with Burnley in W12.

Konchesky added: “The manager told us we need to believe in ourselves and he encouraged us to play with a high tempo and high up the pitch.

“I don’t think we did that at the start of the second half. They came out and scored two goals and only then we started playing higher up and started to believe in ourselves.

“So we needed to start the game quicker in the second half and maybe we wouldn’t have conceded the two goals. But we’ve done well and shown great character in coming back, and we’ll take the point.”

Hasselbaink has come into the job at QPR having impressed during his time in charge of League One outfit Burton Albion, and there is a lot of optimism surrounding his appointment at Loftus Road.

That view is shared by Konchesky, who added: “He’s only been here for eight or nine days but the lads have responded really well. It’s been a tough week with two very tough games and we’ve picked up two points so we’re unbeaten under him and we could have won both of those games.

“We can build on that now and head into Saturday and the Christmas period on a high. He gets his stuff across to the lads and we’ve taken to him, which you can see from both games.

“He’s got great ideas, he knows what he wants so as long as we can do that I think he’ll be a successful manager and hopefully that will be this season pushing QPR up the league.”