Garner stays says PNE boss

Lilywhites ace Joe Garner

Lilywhites ace Joe Garner

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Simon Grayson insists Joe Garner will lead Preston North End’s strikeforce this season.

Garner fuelled North End’s promotion push in the previous campaign by finding the back of the net 24 times.

And his wonder strike in the club’s 1-1 play-off first leg semi-final draw against Rotherham at Deepdale in May earned him national acclaim.

PNE lost the second leg 3-1 at the New York Stadium as they missed out on a place in the final at Wembley and a chance to secure promotion to the Championship.

Despite that setback, Grayson is determined to keep hold of boyhood Preston fan Garner, despite reported interest from other clubs.

The striker is under contract until June 2015 and is currently negotiating an extension.

Talks are believed to have stalled between the two parties, although reports earlier in the summer suggesting Garner had rejected fresh terms are well wide of the mark.

Grayson revealed only a monumental amount of money could persuade PNE’s owner Trevor Hemmings into selling the 26-year-old and is hopeful the forward will commit his future to the club longer term.

He said: “I more or less said the other night – at the fans’ forum – that we can more or less guarantee that he will be here to the end of the season.

“We have a very rich owner who is not looking to sell him so it would have to take a huge amount of money for us to release him from his contract.

“Every player has got a price no matter who you are in the world. Players have prices on their heads but we are not actively looking to get rid of him.”

Garner has managed to get a number of minutes under his belt during the pre-season games.

He came on for a 12-minute cameo against Leicester on Saturday, and has scored in the 3-2 victory over Chorley and the 2-1 win over League Two outfit Morecambe.

He is set to lead the line on Saturday as North End face Notts County at Deepdale on the opening day of the new League One season.