Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has tipped “hungry” new Brisbane Roar signing Charlie Austin to have a huge impact on the A-League.
Former Southampton and Queens Park Rangers marksman Austin is set to make his Roar debut – most likely via a second-half cameo – on Wednesday night when Brisbane meets Villa in the Queensland Champions Cup at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Austin will have the job of scoring a bagful of goals for the Roar this season, and former Liverpool star Gerrard – who played against the 33-year-old striker on several occasions – backed him to deliver.
“The guys at Brisbane Roar should expect goals – he’s scored goals wherever he’s been,” Gerrard said.
“I’ve played against Charlie quite a few times. I like the way he comes across, I like the way he approaches his game – he’s hungry for goals.
“He’s a box player, comes with big experience and I’m sure he’ll be a big help to the Roar.”
Roar coach Warren Moon, who didn’t use Austin in Brisbane’s 2-1 Queensland Champions Cup loss to Leeds United last Thursday night, said he would give his recently arrived attacker some game time against Villa despite him being slightly behind his teammates in preparations for the new A-League season.
The Roar will use the match to further prepare for their Australia Cup round-of-32 clash against NPL Victoria club Heidelberg United on July 27.
For Villa, the game against the Roar continues their preparations for the start of the English Premier League season next month.
Villa beat Leeds 1-0 in a physical weekend encounter at Suncorp Stadium, and Gerrard promised another high-intensity display against the Roar.
“We’ll treat them (Brisbane) with full and utmost respect,” the Villa boss said.
“We watched them against Leeds the other night and they caused Leeds quite a few problems throughout the 90 minutes.
“They’ve got some lively players. I’m sure they’ll be right up for it, another opportunity to play against all these Premier League players who I’m sure they know very well and watch a lot on TV.
“Every opponent we go up against from now to the beginning of the season, we’ll give the utmost respect, and we’ll approach it in the same way – to win the game and try to get as much as we can out of the 90 minutes.”
Following their match with the Roar, Villa complete their Australian tour with a game against Manchester United at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Saturday night.