After a poor season, Brisbane Roar is making changes, including a new key signing and a return home.
Brisbane Roar is set to announce the signing of former English Premier League striker Charlie Austin as the A-League club prepares for a “staggered” return to Suncorp Stadium.
Austin, 32, scored 34 goals in 111 Premier League appearances for Queens Park Rangers, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion.
For the past two seasons Austin has played for QPR in the second-tier English Championship, but reportedly failed to make enough appearances in the club’s 2021-22 campaign to trigger a contract extension.
Despite reported interest from Championship outfit Preston North End and League Two (English fourth-tier) outfit Swindon Town, Austin is expected to sign with the Roar.
His likely arrival is part of a fresh start for the Warren Moon-coached Roar after a disappointing A-League season in which the Queenslanders finished second last.
It’s a revamp that will include a long-awaited return to Suncorp Stadium for at least three home matches in the 2022-23 season.
Chris Fong, who has taken a more “hands-on” role in stepping up from vice-chairman to the chairman’s position, said depending on the Suncorp Stadium calendar, the club hoped to play up to six matches at the Milton venue in the upcoming season.
The Roar will play their remaining home games at boutique Redcliffe venue Moreton Daily Stadium, which has been the club’s permanent home ground for the past two seasons after the club left Suncorp Stadium for financial reasons.
“The issue with Redcliffe is that a lot of fans can’t get there,” Fong said.
The Roar’s average home attendance in the 2021-22 A-League season was only 4500.
“Stadiums Queensland and (Suncorp Stadium general manager) Alan Graham have been great, and it’s been a good process in working towards getting us back into Brisbane,” Fong said.
“It will be staggered but … I believe that eventually all our home games will be played in Brisbane.”
In at least one change to the Roar’s football department, head physiotherapist Jas Sidhu has left, with his replacement being Andrew Davidson.
The Roar meet Premier League clubs Leeds (July 14, Gold Coast) and Aston Villa (July 20, Townsville) as part of the three-match Queensland Champions Cup, which also includes a match between Leeds and Villa at Suncorp Stadium on July 17.