'IT'S not possible unless he takes a significant pay-cut' - Swindon Town head coach Ben Garner said he would love to re-sign striker Charlie Austin but admitted the level of finance required means the likelihood of a deal happening is slim.

Austin played 65 times for Town between 2009 and 2011, scoring 37 goals - including one on his first professional start away at Carlisle United - before leaving the County Ground for Burnley and subsequently Queens Park Rangers, Southampton, and West Bromwich Albion.

Operating at either the Championship or Premier League for the majority of his career, the 32-year-old has always kept an eye on his former club and has been seen at games several times this season.

Talk about a potential swan-song return for Austin has been rife among Swindon fans in recent days and weeks, helped by a couple of flags seen at the County Ground which read "the return of the king."

In his pre-Walsall press conference on Friday, Garner was asked about the potential for a deal happening in the summer now that the striker is a free agent following his release by QPR.

Garner said: "I know he is highly regarded here, and a fantastic player who has been a proven goalscorer for so many years.

"If you want to pay his wages then we'll gladly have him back here!"

Then pushed to confirm that a lack of finance would be the primary reason behind Austin not returning, Garner said: "I would very much imagine so, yeah.

"I don't see that being a possibility unless Charlie wants to get in touch with us and tell us he'll take a lot less money than what he's recently been on, then it may open up.

"But I would say (Austin returning) is highly, highly unlikely."