BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
NATHAN Austin hopes he is on a fast-track to the Falkirk first-team – but is determined he will not sacrifice his speed for strength.
The 22-year-old joined the Bairns from East Fife in January but was immediately sent back on loan to help the Methil outfit clinch the League Two title.
The rangy marksman finished as the league’s top scorer and has begun the new campaign determined to prove he can make the step up to full-time football in the Championship.
But the Hertfordshire-born player, who moved to Scotland aged seven, knows he has hard work ahead to iron out his strengths and weaknesses.
He said: “The manager’s pointed out stuff I can improve on, but I know my hold-up play has to be better. I work on that in training.
“I’m doing finishing work in drills and that’s going to make me a better player.
“I’m only 22, I’m still young as a player, so I’ve got plenty of time. It doesn’t need to happen for me tomorrow – but the near future would be nice!
“If anything I need to put on a wee bit of weight up top, but that’s something I’ll work on gradually.
“I’m not going to be one day 13 stone and the next minute be 15!
“I go to the gym every second day and I’m getting bigger and I’ve put on a few pounds.
“You need strength in this division. You look at the centre-backs in this division and there aren’t many wee boys. It helps if you’re stronger. It’s easier to hold the ball up and stuff like that.
“But my game’s about pace, so I don’t want to get too big and lose one of my main attributes.”
Austin is aiming for a third start of the season away to Queen of the South this afternoon as Falkirk seek their first league win of the campaign.
And the Fifer is hopeful last weekend’s last-gasp equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Morton can propel Peter Houston’s men up the table as they bid to emulate last term’s second-placed finish.
He added: “It’s a dog-eat-dog league and I think you’ll see all the teams take points off each other. It will be the team that puts a run together that will win it.
“We were one down lat weekend and snatched a late equaliser and hopefully we can put a run of form on now.”