Garner has staying power

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PNE’s homegrown hero Joe Garner pledged his commitment to the club after a ‘special day’ that saw his boyhood club clinch promotion to the Championship.

After setting up two of strike partner Jermaine Beckford’s goals in PNE’s 4-0 victory over Swindon Town at Wembley, the home of English football, Garner is relishing leading PNE’s front line in the Championship next term.

Joe Garner is a Wembley winner

Joe Garner is a Wembley winner

And as well as confirming he will be sporting the famous Lilywhites strip next term Garner also hopes Beckford signs on the dotted line so they can continue their prolific partnership.

He said: “Winning promotion means everything to me.

“I think we are a top side, we can hold our own in that league and I’m looking forward to it.

“Jermaine is a top player, he makes my job a lot easier and I think I complement him well.

“He’s played at a high level before, he will take it in his stride and hopefully he is here next year.”

Garner celebrated turning 27 by netting 27 goals in all competitions this season and can add the League One top scorer gong to his play-off final winner’s medal.

The striker is used to hogging the limelight but after Beckford stole the headlines, Garner said team success rather than individual glory is what spurs him on.

He said: “It is a special day for myself and for all the other fans who will go home happy.

“I think we did whatever it took to win today – assists, goals, whatever – so long as we won.”

The local lad done good will now go down in the record books as one of North End’s history boys.

After scoring THAT wonder goal in last season’s play-off failure against Rotherham, Garner carved his name into PNE folklore and will now always be remembered as one of the men who broke PNE’s play-off hoodoo and finally tasted play-off success at the 10th attempt.

He said: “Having supported the club and knowing the record in the play-off’s winning is a big thing.

“It’s been spoken about a lot in the build-up and it is good to finally put that to bed.

Garner hailed boss Simon Grayson for masterminding North End’s success.

After the Lilywhites missed out on automatic promotion by a whisker after a final day defeat at Colchester, Garner said Grayson’s post-match team talk fuelled North End’s impressive play-off performances.

He said: “Obviously everyone was down after the Colchester game. The gaffer got into us early straight after the game. He said if you can get up through the play-offs it is the best way of doing it.

“Now I think he has four in four and so he is skilled at getting teams through in the play-offs.”

And after bouncing back from a three-month injury lay-off in February, Garner says the roller-coaster nature of the game is what football is all about.

He said: “The disappointment of getting injured is part and parcel of football. When we lost at Colchester it is part of football.

“It is football and things can change very quickly. All the fans went home happy I hope they have a nice summer and come back and watch us against some big sides next year.”