Hands off Garner!

North End have no interest in selling Joe Garner
North End have no interest in selling Joe Garner
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Preston North End have no interest in selling striker Joe Garner, amid reports linking Rangers and Wigan with moves for him.

Rumours of Rangers eyeing him have been bubbling away during the summer, while this week, it was claimed Wigan were considering a bid.

There has been no interest expressed at an official level though, and North End want Garner in their forward line for the season ahead.

He has another two years left on his contract, having signed a three-year deal last summer.

While Garner struggled for goals last season – he scored six in the Championship – it was a problem shared by all the strikers.

For spells, he played as a lone striker down the middle and that work-rate was highly valued at Deepdale.

During pre-season, Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson has been working on the team scoring more goals in general, as well as the front men improving their individual goal tally.

Simon Makienok was added to the list of forward line options over the summer, his height a potential weapon in bringing others into play.

The addition of Ben Pringle in midfield is seen as a way of improving the supply line up to the strikers, Pringle bringing with him a cultured left foot and accurate delivery.

Garner told the Evening Post said: “There is a lot of competition for every position throughout the squad, which can only be a good thing.

“If you are not pulling your weight, you won’t be in the side.

“We have brought a few new faces in. Ben Pringle has got a great left foot, hopefully I can get some chances from him.”

Rangers’ interest does not come as too much of a surprise, bearing in mind their recent recruitment record.

Seven of their eight signings this summer have come from English clubs.

Last term, they also brought in six players from England.

Wigan are on the hunt for a striker as they prepare for their return to this level after winning League One.

Garner sat out Tuesday night’s 4-1 win at Morecambe, as did a number of the players who had started against Stoke last Saturday.

Jermaine Beckford, Daniel Johnson, Paul Gallagher, Greg Cunningham, Anders Lindegaard and Makienok, all watched the game from the stand.

All are set to return to the squad for Saturday’s clash with Bolton at the Macron Stadium, which will be Preston’s final pre-season friendly.

Paul Huntington and Alan Browne, who came off during the Morecambe game, are expected to be fit for the weekend.

Grayson said: “Hunts just fell on his arm after going up for a header – he’s all right.

“He was coming off anyway after an hour, that was all that happened.

“Alan Browne got a slight knock on the head, he wasn’t concussed – he just felt a bit more dizzy than he normally does!

“We had used all of our subs by then and it didn’t do us any harm having to play with 10 men and see a game out.

“I hope it doesn’t happen, but if you get a red card, you have to adapt to a man fewer.”