QPR manager Mark Warburton has revealed that he is optimistic that forward Charlie Austin will be ready to make a return to the side in their trip to Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening.
Austin had been a notable absentee from the Rs’ squad for their last two games against Leyton Orient and Hull City after he suffered a knock to his knee during their 1-1 draw against Millwall on the opening day of the Championship campaign.
Sam McCallum has also been missing for QPR due to illness in the last few weeks and that has prevented him from making his first-team debut for the club since he arrived on loan from Norwich City in the summer transfer window.
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Speaking to West London sport, Warburton outlined that Austin is set to train with the squad ahead of the trip to Middlesbrough and suggested that he is confident he should make a return at the Riverside.
He said: “Charlie will be training today and we’ll see how he goes.
“It’ll be a group of 10 players working this morning – the likes of George (Thomas), Albert (Adomah) and Andre (Dozzell).
“It was a whack on the knee, some bruising and it had to calm down. We’ll see how he is, but I’m very optimistic.”
On McCallum, he added that the defender will be set to resume training on Tuesday as he aims to make a return to action at the weekend or in midweek against Oxford United in the League Cup:
He said: “He’ll be back in I hope tomorrow.
“He won’t travel with us to Middlesbrough but hopefully will be available for selection at the weekend. And if not, for the Oxford game.”
Austin returning to action against Middlesbrough would be a huge boost for Warburton’s side and leave him with a real extra dilemma over his team selection following the Rs’ impressive 3-0 win away against Hull City at the weekend.
The forward is going to be a player that the Rs look to spearhead their push for promotion this season and his experience and quality infront of goal is going to potentially prove to be vital in tight matches where the Rs need to find different ways of coming out on top.
Middlesbrough represents a difficult test for the Rs’ credentials this season and they will be wanting to lay down a marker by making it back-to-back wins at the Riverside.
It could be that Austin is used off the bench by Warburton to try and change things in the final few minutes of the game if the Rs are needing a goal. That would be a very good option for them to have on their bench.
Meanwhile, the Rs will have be keen to ensure that McCallum gets back to full fitness so that he can provide competition for places. The defender looks to have been a good signing for QPR this summer and he will be keen to get going now after a lay-off at the start of his spell with the club.