Half century up for PNE star Garner

Joe Garner
Joe Garner
  • Joe Garner hits 50th goal in 100th appearance for Preston
  • North End striker scored another hat-trick for his boyhood club on Saturday
  • Win over Colchester in final game of the season will see PNE promoted
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Preston North End’s hat-trick hero Joe Garner hailed North End boss Simon Grayson after the Lilywhites defeated promotion rivals Swindon Town 3-0 at a jam-packed Deepdale.

Garner was ‘over the moon’ after his third goal of the afternoon signalled his 50th goal for North End in his 100th appearance for the club.

We are confident that we can beat anyone in the league but we will go into the game on Sunday and show Colchester a lot of respect

Despite a three month injury lay-off this season, the striker opened the scoring early against Swindon to calm any nerves in the home ends at Deepdale.

He then increased his tally for the season to 25 when he pouned in the second minute of first-half stoppage time.

His hat-trick goal arrived in the 51st minute, which ensure PNE remain in poll position to clinch the final League One automatic promotion spot.

The League One player of the year took time to thank and praise manager Grayson, whose tactics proved crucial in the victory over the Robins.

He said: “We had a plan to come out quick and press them, it came off well and credit to the gaffer.

“The team went into the game knowing how we were going to set out and it worked.

“Swindon are a good side, they have been up there for a reason.

“We’ve gone over them this week and the gaffer has come up trumps.

“He has set a game plan and it has worked. Fair play all the credit should go to him.”

It was Garner’s third hat-trick of the season and the striker chuckled at the prospect of his young son booting another match ball around the house.

After adding another treble to his tally, Garner is keen to add a promotion winning medal to his trophy cabinet by sealing promotion to the Championship at Colchester on Sunday.

If North End match or better MK Dons’ result they will secure second spot and automatic promotion.

But with just a one point cushion and an inferior goal difference, North End fan Garner is not taking anything for granted.

He said: “Obviously it is nice to play 100 games and score my 50th goal. It is really nice. It is always nice to score goals especially at Deepdale.

“Everyone went home happy and we prepare for Sunday now.

“I scored at a really good times, early, just before half-time and just after half-time which I think put the game to bed.

“We had a couple more chances and probably should have scored a few more goals but I’m happy with a 3-0 win and more happy with the three points.

“I thought we kept the ball well at the end and saw the game out. We played some good football. I’m over the moon with the goals but more happy with the three points really.

“We go into Sunday now knowing that three points will get us promoted and we will prepare well this week and go to Colchester confident that we can do that.

“I think we are a good side, we are up there for a reason.

“We are confident that we can beat anyone in the league but we will go into the game on Sunday and show Colchester a lot of respect.

“They are in a fight themselves and they will want the points as much as us.

“But we know if we can play well we can beat anyone.

“Everyone knows that every game in our league is a tough one – especially away from home.

“But the gaffer will prepare us right, set us up how he thinks we can win the game and we will go there confident that we can pick three points to get where we need to be.”