sport

Redknapp backs Austin to shine

Harry Redknapp feels Charlie Austin has the ability to become the latest non-league graduate to succeed in the Premier League.

Austin scored QPR's goal in the 1-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday, his first in the top division enough to secure the club's first three points of the season.

The former bricklayer came through the ranks at Kintbury, Hungerford Town and Poole before being snapped up by Swindon Town in 2009.

"There are lots of strikers that have come out of lower-league football," said Redknapp.

"Obviously recently there's the likes of Rickie Lambert and before that Kevin Phillips, and it's great to see that hopefully chances are still there to move through the levels.

"And hopefully Charlie can be another who does the same thing in the long term. He took his goal very well, it's great for him.

"Thursday was the first time he'd trained for two weeks after his hamstring problem, so to get 60-odd minutes out of him was a bonus."

Redknapp also paid tribute to captain Clint Hill who came into a re-jigged four-man defence against Sunderland.

"You can put your life on Clint can't you, he's such a great professional," he said.

"He's reliable and that's so important for us, and he showed just what he offers. We've got to have competition in there, that's vital."