PNE clicking into gear

Joe Garner
Joe Garner
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Ace marksman Joe Garner thinks that Preston North End can be a real force in League One this season if they find top gear on a consistent basis.

Garner notched his seventh goal of the campaign in PNE’s 2-0 victory over Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena.

He slotted home from the penalty spot to follow-up Tom Clarke’s opener and has found the net in his last four matches.

“We are a strong side, a good side and while we have had a couple of funny results this season, things tend to go well when we click,” said Garner.

“Most of the lads have played a lot of games in this division and we know that it is tough every week.

“Teams beat each other and you have to work very hard for the three points.

“When we click we are a force to be reckoned with and I think we showed that against Coventry in spells.

“We can be better and we will work hard this week in training so that we can go again on Saturday against Colchester.

“In the build-up to Coventry the gaffer and his staff did a lot of work with us about how we were going to set-up and play against their 3-5-2.

“So a lot of credit goes to them for getting us ready and getting us playing in the right way for that game.”

There was a real sense of irony that it was Garner who was fouled for the penalty which he took to seal the win.

On Friday in his pre-match press conference, Coventry boss Steven Pressley had said that Garner ‘likes to throw himself on the ground to get fouls’ and added that he hoped the match referee would read his comments.

It is understood that North End did make their feelings known to the Football League about the comments ahead of the game.

Afterwards, there was a degree of diplomacy shown by Garner and North End boss Simon Grayson.

No fingers could be pointed at Garner for the award of the penalty, Seb Hines’ clumsy challenge leaving referee Tim Robinson with little choice but to award the spot kick.

Garner claimed to have little knowledge of Pressley’s words but his goal celebration in which he performed a belly-flop dive perhaps suggested otherwise.

He said: “I have not heard anything of it. After the game the gaffer had a little bit of a laugh and I didn’t really know what he was on about.

“I don’t really mind what their manager wants to do. He has done a good job and fair play to him. Everyone has their own opinion.”

Grayson also towed a rather diplomatic line with regards to Pressley’s remarks.

“Joe’s only motivation is to score goals for Preston North End,” said Grayson.

“He takes satisfaction from scoring against anyone and he is our talisman.

“Whatever has been said in the Press we cannot do anything about it, we just got on with our game plan and won.

“Steven has said what he has said, I’m good friends with Steven and have no problem with him.

“All managers were warned at the start of the season that we aren’t allowed to comment on referees before the game.”