Joe Garner looks likely to be confirmed as a Rangers player soon. With a reported 1.5m to 1.8m outlay, it's by far the biggest signing of the Mark Warburton era, so we'll want to know exactly what type of player he is. To that end, we had a chat with the Preston North End blog 'Tom Clarke at the Back Post' so we could find out exactly what we're getting for our money.
GTBFO: Joe Garner seems to be a hero at Deepdale, a local lad who plays his heart out and has scored a lot of goals. Are you sad to see him leave?
TCATBP: Devastated, in truth. The last 12 months have been tough with only six goals scored, but it's never just been about goals with Garner. He's a boyhood fan living out the dream of every supporter, and whilst his goals have dried up, his effort and passion haven't. It'll be almost impossible to replace what Garner has brought to the club.
GTBFO: Garner seems to have had a good record for you in League One, but didn't step up last year in the Championship. What went wrong? A simple struggle to adapt to the better quality in the league or something else?
TCATBP: Garner has always had questions about his ability in the Championship having failed with Nottingham Forest and Watford, but having scored so many goals for us in League One, we all figured he'd be much better this time around in a settled team where he was 'the man'. Unfortunately it didn't play out that way, and Garner was again found out in the Championship, with defenders a little wiser to his antics. I'd also say he snatched at chances a little more than he did in League One, so those previous failures in the Championship may have weighed on him a little.
GTBFO: Looking at Garner's goals on Youtube, he seems to score a lot from crosses into the box, which is something we've desperately been lacking. What are his biggest strengths as a player?
Watch Joe Garner's goals for Preston North End, and GTBFO's thoughts on how he'll fit in, here
TCATBP: He's a very hard worker and will give everything on the pitch. Garner may not be the tallest striker, but he's superb in the air thanks to his great leap and almost perfect timing of his jump. One of the key aspects to his game is winding up defenders at any opportunity; he's an absolute pest, and whilst that's got him into trouble on a couple of occasions here, he's a defender's nightmare. He's a penalty-box poacher - he'll never wow you with his pace or technique, but he comes alive inside the penalty area.
GTBFO: And also, his touch seems to be a bit inconsistent to say the least. What are his biggest weaknesses?
TCATBP: Yeah, his touch can be hit and miss. Sometimes he can hold the ball up well and link up play, other times the ball will bounce off him or he'll get the ball caught in between his feet. One of main weakness in my eyes is that he can be quite greedy at times, going for goal at any cost rather than looking for team-mates, whilst that winding-up ability I mentioned earlier can become irritating at times, with many fans - even our own - left frustrated by his diving and play-acting on occasion.
GTBFO: And finally - are you happy with the price?
TCATBP: If it gets to the rumoured £1.7m then I think it was too good for us to turn down. The structure of the deal - allegedly £750,000 now and £750,000 next year - isn't ideal but I understand why the club took it. As a player it's a good deal for us, but as a cult hero, some would say he's priceless.
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