Garner goes it alone for PNE

Front man Joe Garner has scored half-a-dozen goals this season
Front man Joe Garner has scored half-a-dozen goals this season
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Hot-shot Joe Garner believes he is steadily getting accustomed to leading Preston’s attack on his own.

In the main this season, PNE boss Simon Grayson has gone with Garner as the spearhead of the front line in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 system.

The change from last term’s 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 does not seem to have done the striker much harm – he has bagged six goals in eight league starts.

Three of those goals have come in the last three matches against Walsall, Chesterfield and Crawley.

On Saturday, the 26-year-old will be looking to continue that trend when North End face Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena – the venue of his PNE debut in January 2013.

Garner told the Evening Post: “I have always tended to play in a 4-4-2 with someone up there with me.

“The gaffer at the moment is going with a different formation and I’m learning every week how to play in that system.

“It is a demanding role because you are two-against-one up there but I think my performances are getting better by the week.

“Each game you learn something new, see how to cope with a situation a bit better. I see it as a learning 
curve and as the season goes on 
I will be well drilled in playing that way.

“I think it always helps a side when you have got two or three formations which everyone is comfortable playing.

“Brentford used the 4-3-3 last season and got promoted and I think Wolves played that way too at times and went on to win the league.

“Whatever system is chosen, you have to keep working on it in training and learn from game to game.”

Garner is quite pleased with his season’s goal tally to date, the PNE front man being joint-third highest scorer in League One behind Eoin Doyle at Chesterfield (11) and Bristol City midfielder Aaron Wilbraham who has found the net eight times.

Said Garner: “Personally I think I’m doing okay. I’ve got six goals so far this season, with three in the last three games.

“I’m looking to crack on over the coming weeks and score plenty more.

“At this level I’m very confident of scoring goals, as long as I’m getting the chances.

“The variety of goals I’ve scored is pleasing – I have found the net from inside the box, outside and with headers.

“The tap-ins from close range are my favourites, although I’ve not had too many of those.

“Overall, I think the season has gone quite well so far. “The Walsall and Chesterfield results were disappointing but this is a 46-game season and we are only eight games into it.

“There is a long slog ahead and it is all about picking points up consistently.”

Garner is looking forward to the trip to Coventry, the Sky Blues back playing at the Ricoh Arena after a season in exile at Sixfields.

He said: “It was a big thing for them to move back and it should be a good game.

“Maybe it would have suited us more to play at Sixfields because the crowds weren’t very big but we can’t do anything about that.”