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Southampton striker Charlie Austin may feature in Saturday's Premier League clash with West Ham United at the London Stadium, in what would be his first match for the Saints since tearing his hamstring in the 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield Town in December.

That injury ended a prolific scoring run in which Austin netted five times in seven matches.

Now, according to the Daily Echo, Saints manager Mark Hughes is hopeful that the 28-year-old will be available for the crucial relegation six-pointer with the Hammers, who are two points and one place above Southampton.

Hughes believes Austin can offer his side a clinical edge in front of goal which they have been lacking this season. He said: "He’s clearly a goalscorer and one of our problems has been our ability to score consistently in games."

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Once a prolific striker himself for Manchester United, Hughes was full of praise for Austin's goalscoring gifts: "Sometimes it seems like players are like a magnet to the ball, and when the ball is played in the box invariably natural goalscorers seem to be on the end of things. He is certainly that type of player."


Despite his three-month absence, Charlie Austin remains his club's top scorer this season, in which the Saints have netted just 29 times in 30 Premier League matches.

Austin's return to action would be a rare boost for Southampton, who are currently languishing in 18th place in the Premier League table.