The striker did not take start in Hasselbaink’s first match in charge against Burnley at the weekend, but the Dutch boss insists that was entirely due to his injury problems.
Hasselbaink is keen not to risk jeopardising Austin’s health by rushing him back into the team.
“Charlie’s fit to start. He was fit to start on Saturday but we want him to be able to play 90 minutes,” Hasselbaink said.
“I’m a big lover of Charlie Austin. He’s a very good striker that I really like, but he’s been injured and before I came here he hadn’t played.
“I don’t want to rush him and risk losing him. I need to give him that base (of fitness) where he can go forward.”
QPR have missed Austin of late, and their goal-scoring threat has clearly been hampered by the loss of the potent front-man.
The R’s claimed a 0-0 draw with Burnley, but with a clinical finisher in the team they may have secured all three points.
Austin has not started a match for QPR since the start of November, and in his absence the team have struggled for goals.
QPR have not scored more than one goal in any of their last seven matches, but they have still managed to climb up the Championship standings.
The R’s have tightened up defensively, and they are now unbeaten in three matches – with their next fixture coming against Brighton & Hove Albion later this evening.