Football League talking points: Manchester United should have gone for Shearer-like Charlie Austin, says Ian Holloway

Charlie Austin (centre) celebrates scoring Southampton's match-winning goal
Image: Charlie Austin (centre) celebrates scoring Southampton's match-winning goal

Ian Holloway looks at five Football League talking points, including Charlie Austin's match-winning debut and Alan Judge's transfer saga at Brentford.

Also up for discussion are Middlesbrough's dramatic loss of form and Anthony Pilkington's unusual hat-trick for Cardiff. 

Who or what caught your eye? Leave your comments below if you're reading on skysports.com or get in touch via Twitter @SkySportsFL.

Are Boro wobbling?

Since rocketing to the top of the Championship, positive results have dried up for Middlesbrough.

Defeats away at Bristol City and at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday have allowed Hull City to jump above them into top spot, but they do have a game in hand on Steve Bruce's men.

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Highlights from the Riverside Stadium as Middlesbrough took on Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Championship

HOLLOWAY SAYS: "No-one needs to panic and I don't think they will. This is the challenge of the Championship. To be consistent and keep on winning is almost impossible. Teams go through blips and Middlesbrough are in the middle of one. If they can keep this blip down to two games rather than four or five, then everything will still be looking rosy. I wouldn't be worried about their form - the only worry in my head is the play-off final defeat, where they didn't turn up. Believing you're going to get promotion is much harder if you haven't done it before. It's for that reason why I think Hull are favourites for the title."

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Saint Charlie 

Charlie Austin joined Southampton from QPR earlier in January and made his first appearance in their colours a memorable one when he scored the only goal in Saturday's 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The 26-year-old rose from the non-league ranks to the Premier League with QPR, and he remained at Loftus Road after their relegation despite being linked with a number of top division clubs.

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Charlie Austin scored a debut goal for Southampton as they recorded a 1-0 win over Manchester United

HOLLOWAY SAYS: "Why is anyone surprised? In the last 18 months, apart from Harry Kane, I haven't seen a better centre-forward than Austin in English football. Remember, he scored 18 goals in the Premier League for a team that finished bottom. If you can do that, you've got to be pretty special. What I love most about him is that he hasn't sulked - he always tried his hardest for QPR.

"Manchester United can't score for toffee. Why didn't they go in for him? I'll tell you why. Austin's not a fashionable signing. For some reason, Austin doesn't fit the criteria of one of the big wigs to buy him. Some players are deemed not fashionable enough to play for certain clubs. It makes me sick.

"Well done to Ronald Koeman for looking through all that nonsense.

"There isn't much difference between Alan Shearer and Austin. Shearer perhaps developed a bit quicker as a youngster, but they are both top-class old fashioned centre-forwards. Wherever Austin has been, he's scored a goal every two games. That's a phenomenal record. I'm chuffed for him." 

Judge trying to call shots

Alan Judge is growing increasingly frustrated at Brentford, Sky sources understand.

The 27-year-old attacker has been the subject of two failed bids in the current transfer window, one from Sheffield Wednesday and the other from Burnley, because they fell short of his £8m valuation.

Judge, who was recently called up to the Republic of Ireland squad and wants to take part in this summer's European Championships, scored in the 3-1 win at Preston on Saturday and is the club's top-scorer.

Alan Judge, Brentford
Image: Alan Judge has starred for Brentford and wants the opportunity to move

HOLLOWAY SAYS: "When you have a good season and start scoring goals, you get people in your ear about how well you're doing and which clubs want you. Unfortunately, the game is run differently these days and agents are far too involved.

"The facts are you've signed a contract, Brentford don't want to lose you so you've got to get on with it. The agent, who wants his player to move for his own interest, is the one putting these noises out and it's all a bit of a mess.

"Judge has knuckled down and kept on impressing people with his performances. Fair play to him. He's got to do what's best for him and his family. He's a really talented boy and he should just keep doing what he's doing."

Pilkington's unusual hat-trick

It was an up-and-down weekend for Anthony Pilkington. 

He scored a hat-trick in Cardiff's 2-2 draw with Rotherham, but unfortunately one of them was a bizarre own goal at the wrong end.

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Highlights from the Cardiff City Stadium as hosts Cardiff faced Rotherham in the Sky Bet Championship

HOLLOWAY SAYS: "I wonder whether he took the match ball home?! He was so unlucky with the own-goal! He was looking the other way. He looked so bemused. 

"I've been involved in some bizarre games in my time. The one that springs to mind is when I was player-manager for Bristol Rovers and we had four players sent off against Wigan at Springfield Park. We lost 3-0, but Wigan were that bad we hit the post at 2-0 down with nine men! I'm still adamant we deserved something from that game - it was my masterstroke to play a 3-3-1 formation. I was 35 and having to chase around midfield like a teenager. The referee was also from Wigan: unbelievable!

"Another bizarre episode happened at Rovers. My midfield partner Andy Reece scored two own goals in two games. On the Saturday, we had to mark him when defending set-pieces - he was lethal!"

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