PNE ace Joe can’t wait for Wembley

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Preston North End front man Joe Garner says he has a feeling of real excitement about playing at Wembley for the first time.

The 27-goal striker watched PNE play at the national stadium as a young lad but the chance to get out of the turf has eluded him until now.

Joe Garner scores from the penalty spot in the play-off semi-final second leg

Joe Garner scores from the penalty spot in the play-off semi-final second leg

On Sunday, Garner will lead the Lilywhites’ attack in the League One play-off final against Swindon.

“It is the first time I have played at Wembley and just to get there is exciting,” Garner told the Evening Post.

“I went to the old stadium in 1994 when Preston played Wycombe. I was six at the time.

“We didn’t get the result that day but at the age I was, it was things like walking through the crowds on Wembley Way and all the balloons which I remember.

“It is nice to be going as a player this time.

“I’ve made the play-offs five or six times in the past but unfortunately never quite managed to reach the final.

“A lot keeps being spoken about records at this club and as the manager continues to remind us, records are there to be broken.

“Wembley is a special place, it is the ground which you recognise as the biggest and best when you are a kid.

“You see England play at the ground and there have been some special matches there in the past, both before and after it was redeveloped.”

Three of Garner’s 27 goals this season came against Swindon three weeks ago as his hat-trick helped beat the Wiltshire outfit 3-0 at Deepdale. It is that kind of lethal finishing which he hopes to take into the final and carry on producing.

“Swindon are a top side, an attacking side with some very good players,” said Garner.

“Their manager has done a hell of a good job down there, they probably don’t have very much fear as a team.

“I’m confident that we can get a result if we play as well as we know we can.

“We had that bad game against Colchester a couple of weeks ago.

“While things like that can happen and you have your ups and downs over the course of a season, that one really came at the wrong time.

“We have put that right now, we played well in the two play-off semi-finals.

“The gaffer set us up really well and he deserves a lot of credit for doing that.”

Garner will take a mightily impressive goals tally into the Wembley showpiece.

He has scored 51 goals in the last two seasons, 50 of those since early November, 2013.

The 27-year-old finished this campaign as League One’s top scorer.

Said Garner: “It is a decent return – being leading scorer was a nice achievement for myself.

“I set off at the start of the season to win promotion and we have still got a great chance of doing that.”

Meanwhile, Wembley tickets went on general sale this morning to fans on the club’s database. Sales has reached 16,500 on Saturday.