PNE ready to land Joe

Target man: Joe Garner could complete his switch to Preston North End today
Target man: Joe Garner could complete his switch to Preston North End today
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Preston North End were poised to add Joe Garner to their strike force today after chasing his signature since the summer.

The Lancashire-born front man underwent a medical yesterday, with North End hoping to complete the deal this morning.

North End had Garner on their radar in the summer but his club Watford wanted a fee at the time.

However, he has now agreed a settlement of the final few months of his Hornets contract and is available to move to Deepdale as a free agent.

All being well, the 24-year-old will be in the PNE squad for Thursday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie with Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.

Garner supported North End as a youngster and has family who are season ticket holders at Deepdale.

He started his career at Blackburn but after being unable to break into the first-team squad there, joined Carlisle in a £140,000 transfer.

A prolific spell in Cumbria, where his goal ratio was almost one in every two games, earned Garner a £1.14m move to Nottingham Forest in July 2008.

During his time at the City Ground, he had loan spells at Huddersfield and Scunthorpe, before a £200,000 switch took him to Watford 16 months ago.

He spent three months on loan back at Carlisle earlier this season, one of his eight goals in their colours being a penalty in the Cumbrians’ 1-1 draw against North End in November.

Should he put pen to paper, it would be the second piece of incoming business done by PNE since the January transfer window opened.

The first saw centre-half Luke Foster earn a deal until the end of the season after playing four games on a non-contract basis.

While North End’s budget is governed by the Football League’s financial fair play rules –which limits spending on players’ wages to 65% of a club’s turnover – there could be further business done this month.

Right-back options are being looked at following the hamstring injury suffered by John Mousinho at Millwall in addition to Keith Keane being out.

One short-term option to cover that position is provided by Jack King.

The versatile King is looking forward to the Coventry clash and hoping North End can respond to their FA Cup exit at Millwall’s hands at the weekend.

Said King: “So far this season we have been good at reacting to defeat and hopefully we can do that again.

“We played well at Coventry before Christmas in the league and probably should have won that game.

“Although the league is our primary concern this season, the JPT is a nice distraction and we’re looking forward to this one.

“Coventry’s team will have changed a little bit since we played them – I know David McGoldrick isn’t there anymore.

“There might be one or two different players who have come in, so we’ll do our research and come up with a game-plan to play them.”

Meanwhile, former PNE striker Akpo Sodje has joined Scunthorpe until the end of the season.