By Danny Wright

6th Feb, 2020 | 12:00pm

Exclusive: Kevin Phillips suggests West Brom star could be unhappy with lack of starts

We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…

Kevin Phillips has claimed that Charlie Austin might be unhappy with his lack of starts for West Brom this season but has hailed the striker for the attitude he has shown since his switch to The Hawthorns.

Austin, 30, has scored nine goals in 26 appearances across all competitions since joining the Baggies from Southampton in the summer.

Out of his 23 matches in the Championship, 13 of those have come as a substitute and six goals have been scored when he has come off the bench.

No other player in the Championship has scored more goals as a substitute than Austin has this season and although Phillips reckons it is frustrating for the Albion striker to have not started more games, he claims that his goalscoring record shows great character.

“He found it difficult when he first came in but he’s been on the bench a fair few games and I was actually at the Birmingham game, covering that when he came off the bench and got his two goals to secure the win and that’s what Charlie Austin’s does, he scores goals,” the ex-Hawthorns striker told West Brom News.

“He’s probably not been happy with sitting on the bench but his attitude, from what I gather, has been excellent and he’s shown that when he’s come on.

“To get the best out of him you just have to keep talking to him, keep telling him he’s a good player and you’ll get the chance, be patient.

“When you do come on you’ve got to take it and he’s certainly done that this season so, I think as the season progresses now he’ll be a good servant for West Brom, I’m sure of that.”

Although Austin is West Brom’s top goalscorer this season, he has only completed 90 minutes on two occasions in the Championship.

It is unclear whether he is simply not fit enough to last a full match without being substituted or whether Slaven Bilic simply sees the ex-Southampton striker as someone he can make tactical substitutions with.

Hal Robson-Kanu has been the biggest threat to Austin’s starting spot this season with the Welsh forward showing a fine run of form earlier this season.

However the goals have dried up for Robson-Kanu, who’s scored just one in his last 10 league appearances.

Austin has scored more recently than the ex-Reading man, which is perhaps why he was chosen to start up front in the 2-0 win against Luton on Saturday.

In other West Brom news, fans are thrilled with this new addition at The Hawthorns.