Sam Austin on his extended deal, Aggborough journey and more…
By Matty Paddock - 22/02/2021
Posted 4 days ago
AFTER signing a long-term contract extension with the club, Sam Austin admits his unique Harriers journey has helped shape him into the player he is today.
The club’s longest-serving player, Austin inked the extension last week to take his stay at Aggborough until 2023.
It’s a spell that began back in the summer of 2016 when then Manager, John Eustace, swooped to bring the former Burton Albion prospect to Worcestershire following his release from the Brewers.
Since then, he’s gone on to rack up 172 appearances and, this season in particular, one of the side’s most threatening outlets.
The six goals he had to his name when the 2020/21 season was declared null and void was his best tally by far and was just reward for his superb attacking play from a position in which he’s thrived.
“a lot of players chop and change, but it is really nice to grow with the club…”
Positionally, Austin has had plenty to wrap his head around, of course, having been used out wide, at full-back and other areas before settling in a more refined attacking role.
That’s all come on the back him taking time to break into the side – the 24-year-old made just nine starts in his first season here – and its steady progress that he very much recognises as having formed the basis of what we now see.
“It has definitely changed,” he said “And there have been a few positions in there as well!
“I feel currently like I am at my happiest playing in that different role, more attacking and adding more goals to my game definitely puts a smile on my face.
“I would definitely say I’ve grown throughout it and I am really happy where I am at the minute.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been enjoying it, no matter where I was [playing] and just wanted to be out on the pitch.
“In the first two seasons I had a lot of sub appearances learning the non-league way around the game and I am glad I had that because it’s made me the player I am today.”
Of the decision to again extend his stay at Aggborough, Austin admitted that security and familiarity were key after a “weird” season.
What has also helped, however, is positive change at the club itself with the arrival of new owners over the last couple of years and the stability that’s helped to bring.
“I’m really happy to be here again,” he added “especially with the weird season that’s been going on, it’s really nice to be secure.
“I suppose it doesn’t really happen that often, a lot of players chop and change, but it is really nice to grow with the club – especially from being here before, I’ve seen a lot of change, and in the right direction as well.
“It’s great to be settled in and I know the club already so that makes it a little bit easier.”
“I would definitely say I’ve grown throughout it and I am really happy where I am at the minute.”
One factor that hasn’t been consistent this season is consistency – apart from in Austin’s game, of course.
With a COVID-impacted delay to the season starting, to a multitude of delays, postponements and cancellations for similar reasons all following.
That the Harriers players, aided by good support from the management and further above, have managed to keep their heads amongst the madness of it all is testament to their character.
Particularly frustrated with what were, at times, unnecessarily-late postponements late on in the season, Austin added: “It shows what a great group of lads we are – it is mentally tough preparing for a game and doing everything right and being let down at the last minute to not being able to play.
“It’s tough to get your head around, but the lads have been brilliant, and every training session has been top quality.”
This article is about: Player News