Welsh: PNE striker’s no ordinary Joe

Joe Garner's form in front of goal has been praised by Preston North End club captain John Welsh
Joe Garner's form in front of goal has been praised by Preston North End club captain John Welsh
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Preston North End club captain John Welsh rates team-mate Joe Garner as being among the best finishers he has played with in his career.

Garner goes into Saturday’s home game against Port Vale with eight goals to his name this season and 31 in total in less than 12 months.

Vale were PNE’s previous opponents in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last week, Garner netting that night with an inch-perfect chip in a 3-2 victory.

Welsh saw it at close quarters, having made his return from a calf injury which had sidelined him for a month.

“That was a great finish and we have still been talking about it in training this week,” Welsh told the Evening Post.

“At the time I was expecting Joe to take a touch and then get a shot away – I certainly did not expect him to chip it first time like that.

“What a finish it was and Joe has the confidence to try something like that.

“A particular strength of his is that he can score different types of goals.

“We have seen him score headers, close-range tap-ins, the one in the play-offs against Rotherham and then the chip in last week’s game.

“He has got that selfishness which a good striker needs and just loves scoring goals.

“Joe’s confidence is sky high and has been for the last few months since he got on this scoring run.

“His goal ratio in the last year or so has been excellent and long may that continue.

“The potential to do that has always been there at his other clubs but it has probably taken his move ‘home’ to Preston for things to fall into place.

“I really do think that we are seeing the best of Joe at the moment and he will carry on scoring plenty of goals as long as we are giving him the service.

“In terms of other strikers I have played or trained with, I would put him in the top five finishers and he could very well move up that list further.

“I would probably say that Michael Owen is the best finisher I’ve played with, then Nicolas Anelka – they were at Liverpool when I was there.”

Welsh, meanwhile, is hoping that North End can continue their winning ways when they host Vale for a second time in 12 days.

The Valiants bounced back from their JPT defeat by beating Yeovil 4-2 at Vale Park last Saturday, PNE having a blank weekend after the scheduled trip to Swindon was postponed.

Said Welsh: “It is a bit strange how the two games have fallen together but we have to get on with it.

“We probably learned quite a lot about each other last week, both as a team and how individuals like to play.

“That will all be fresh in the memory on Saturday and hopefully we can use it to our advantage to get three points.”

Elsewhere, PNE loanee Callum Robinson helped England Under-20s win a four-team tournament in Holland.

Their 1-1 draw with Turkey on Monday, in which Robinson played the full game, was enough to clinch victory.

He also started last week’s 1-0 win over Germany and came on as a sub in a 3-2 victory over Holland Saturday.