Joe Garner is the Sky Bet Football League One player of the year; but whilst he is delighted to have two trophies under his belt, he would happily trade them in now for promotion to the Championship.
Dele Alli of Milton Keynes Dons and Luke Freeman of Bristol City were his competitors last Sunday night, but Joe Garner wasn’t able to join them for the battle!
The League One’s top marksman was tucked up in bed at home preparing for the big game at Notts County on Tuesday night when the announcement was made that he had pipped the other two to the accolade of best player in the division in the 2014/15 season.
So it wasn’t until he attended training at Springfields on Monday morning that he got his hands not only on that trophy, but the one he had been awarded for scoring the best goal of 2014 in a Football League competition, his memorable Play-Off semi-final goal against Rotherham United last May.
The One And Only was down at the North End training ground to assist with the handing over of his trophies by manager Simon Grayson, with the Sky cameras and other media present for the informal ceremony, far removed from the glitz and glamour of the awards that took play at The Brewery in Central London the previous evening and when the matchday programme spoke to him on Monday morning he was delighted to be honoured with the trophies.
“I am very proud and I am very happy with the awards and I am now hoping to gain promotion,” he said.
“I want to make it a hat-trick. That’s what we set out to do at the start of the season and now we want to finish the job.
“It is nice to win any award and I am happy with them, but now I want to finish the job off.
“I was up against two players who have had very good seasons, but my aim now is to get Preston out of this league and back into the Championship.
“It is a nice achievement for myself to get the goal of the year. At the time it all went so quickly really and was a bit of a whirlwind, but seeing it back it was a nice goal and I am really honoured that it has been given this award.
“The player of the year is voted for by the managers in our division, so it is a nice award to win. I am very happy it, but I want to carry on with the form I have had in the last year or so and get us over the line.
“I got injured and was out for a little while, but I worked really hard in the gym and with the staff here, particularly Matt Jackson [the physio]. I did a lot of swimming and kept fit and hopefully I came back a better from it.
“I was never worried by it too much. I have had bad injuries before and that helped me come to terms with it. I knew after a couple of weeks that my leg felt fine and I got out of the brace and worked hard.
“I felt I could have come back a little bit quicker, but I was held back a little bit and maybe the rewards from that are paying off now.
“I felt stronger and quicker as soon as I came back and to get a couple of goals in the first game back was a nice feeling and we have picked up a lot of points since.
“We are now in a really nice position with a couple of cup finals left to finish the season. It is nice to have everything in our own control.”
You can read more from Joe in our extended interview with the division’s top scorer in the 100-page edition of Saturday’s programme; this also includes features and interviews with Alan Kelly, John Dreyer, Glynn Snodin, Tom Clarke and many more.
We also have a dozen pages about our visitors from Wiltshire and we have some fantastic unseen images in our big picture section – all this and so much more packed into the 30th edition of the season.
It will be available on the day still for the fantastic value price of just £3. They will be on sale from Friday afternoon from the Club shop, online and in person from our sellers inside and outside of Deepdale.
Don’t forget; The One And Only is also available to download on your iPhone and iPad via the Matchday Digital app.
The Matchday Digital App allows you to view the North End programme anytime, anywhere. You can make one-off purchases or take out a season pass so you are subscribed to the whole season. If you can’t make the game, simply download the programme on the Matchday Digital app and be part of the game.
The slick digital version comes with all the content you would have in the printed programme, but with added features including:
• Programmes available to fans any time, anywhere
• Download back copies from past games
• Programmes will be made available for purchase worldwide
• Easy to use curl or slide ‘turn page’ technology
• Keyword search taking you straight to a particular player or feature
• Pinch screen feature to zoom into articles or images
• Add articles to Facebook or Twitter via the social media feature
• The Matchday Digital app is free to download on to your iPhone/iPad.
Preston North End supporters can download an individual issue at £2.99 or take out a season pass for £49.99.
Download the Matchday Digital app on your iPhone or iPad for free by going to the iTunes App store on your iPhone/iPad and search for ‘Matchday Digital’.