Strike partner Beckford understands Garner’s move from PNE to Rangers

Jermaine Beckford has wished long-time strike partner Joe Garner well at Rangers.
Jermaine Beckford has wished long-time strike partner Joe Garner well at Rangers.
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Jermaine Beckford completely understands why striker partner Joe Garner is swapping Preston North End for Rangers.

Garner is on the verge of completing a move to the Scottish giants with North End fans left contemplating life without someone who has been a mainstay of the side for the last three-and-a-half years.

Jermaine Beckford and Joe Garner in action against Ipswich last season.

Jermaine Beckford and Joe Garner in action against Ipswich last season.

His partnership with Beckford helped fire PNE back to the Championship and while the 32-year-old will miss his right-hand man he has no qualms with his reasoning.

Beckford said: “It’s a shame but at the same time you’ve got to look at the situation he was in.

“He felt it was too big an opportunity to miss out on with the possibility of reaching either the Champions League or Europa League next season as Rangers are up there with Celtic and are going to be battling for the title.

“If you look at it from that point of view it’s very difficult to turn down.

“At the same time he will be a huge loss here but we do have to move forward.”

As well as Garner’s goals, PNE will miss the striker’s committed approach week in, week out.

Beckford said: “Joe doesn’t hide anything.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve and that will be missed.

“It’s all part and parcel of the beautiful game though and everyone here including myself wish him the best of the luck.

“Hopefully he continues with the good work that he’s been doing and he makes a success of it.

“You never know, he might come back one day. We’ll see.”

With the former Carilsle and Nottingham Forest man all but a Rangers player attention turns to who might fill the void.

Beckford believes there is no more pressure on him as the senior front man and is confident competition for places up top means everyone will step up.

He said: “Being a striker first and foremost you have quite a lot of pressure anyway.

“You’re expected to get the goals and change games etc.

“I don’t think there’s anymore of a burden or anything like that.

“With the guys that we’ve got here and the boys that we’ve got up front we’ve got enough to maintain the good work we’ve been putting in so far.”

Despite the continued confidence, North End have managed just one league goal in three games, Beckford laying on Callum Robinson’s header against Fulham, with Simon Grayson’s side still looking for their first Championship point after a hat-trick of defeats.

It could have been a different story if a couple of decisions had gone North End’s way however, Beckford controversially seeing a late leveller chalked off against the Cottagers for offside.

The former Leeds man said: “We’re not far away at all.

“With the exception of a couple of dodgy decisions I think we could have four or five points on the board.

“Unfortunately it’s part and parcel of football. It comes with the territory.

“For now it’s not meant to be. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason though.

“I’m not worried about the way we’ve been playing, I think we’ve been unfortunate.

“But I’m sure we’ll get the rub of the green soon and push on and get the three points.”

Having missed the majority of last season through injury Beckford feels he is fit and firing as North End look to get up and running at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

The knee cartilage problem, which required surgery, does however mean that Grayson is managing the striker’s game time carefully, something Beckford understands despite wanting to play every minute of every game.

He said: “It is a long season.

“I want to play as many games as a I can and as many minutes as I can.

“Obviously we’ve got to try and manage it as well.

“It’s still very early in the season so we don’t want to overdo it too soon.

“I am building up for the Saturday-Tuesday games and hopefully that will come sooner rather than later.

“But I feel great, I feel really good.

“I’ve got a full pre-season behind me and I’ve had no injury issues and no worries.”

The trip to Loftus Road on Saturday is another indication of the unforgiving nature of the Championship.

After defeats against Reading, Fulham and Derby things get no easier for Grayson’s men as the make the trip to the capital to face a side that won their first two games before a 3-2 defeat at Barnsley on Wednesday night.

Beckford said: “I’m always expecting a tough game.

“Every game in this league is going to be a tough game.

“I’m not really worried so much about what they’re going to do, I’m more interested in what we’re going to do.

“As long as we’ve got the solid base, the solid foundation we’ve been working on that we had all of last season then I’m sure we’ve got enough in the middle and up top to cause them problems.

“I think they should be just as worried about us as we are concerned about them.”

Joe Garner’s three-and-a-half years with Preston North End have been entertaining, colourful and largely very successful. Read more about his legacy at Preston North End here