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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Striker Joe Garner happy to be back playing for Carlisle Utd

Joe Garner says the hero’s welcome he received from Carlisle United’s supporters has convinced him he made the right move in rejoining the Blues – and the striker isn’t ruling out a longer stay.

Joe Garner photo
Joe Garner (2008 photo)

Garner said the United faithful have made him feel like he has come “home” after making his dramatic return to Brunton Park this week.

The 24-year-old is hoping to make his first start since his midweek loan move from Watford when the Cumbrians face Coventry tomorrow (Ricoh Arena, 3pm).

And Garner, who hit the post during a second-half substitute outing against Crewe on Tuesday, told The News & Star he is already settling back into life with the Blues after a four-year absence.

“The reception I got on Tuesday was nice and that sort of thing is one of the reasons why I wanted to come back here,” said Garner.

“I probably could have gone elsewhere, but I knew the fans, and the people around the place, would make me feel so welcome.

“It’s totally different here to Watford, which is a very strange place to be at the minute, with the amount of players they’ve got and all the different languages.

“It’s not really for me to comment on all that but you know what you’re getting when you come here to Carlisle. This is what I like – it’s like being back home and I’m happy to be here.”

Garner has joined on an initial 28-day loan after manager Greg Abbott made his move for the club’s record signing on Tuesday.

The former £140,000 buy from Blackburn, who left Carlisle for Nottingham Forest in a £1.14m move in 2008, appears to have little chance of forcing his way back into the picture at Watford, where boss Gianfranco Zola has presided over a huge influx of Italian players.

Asked whether he would consider staying at Brunton Park for longer, Garner said: “I would never say no. I know the place and the staff well and I really enjoy it here.

“I’ve settled in quickly and the lads seem good.

“I’m still under contract at Watford. I don’t know what the future holds and there’s so much going on there I don’t think they really know either. I’ll just take each game at a time and try to do well for Carlisle United.”

Garner insists he will not be trading on past glories as he tries to prove himself again with United. The striker fired 14 goals in the 2007/08 season before a knee injury curtailed his Blues career.

“I remember that season well – we had a good chance of going up,” said Garner, who is cup-tied for next Wednesday’s Capital One Cup clash with Tottenham. “I did my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and was injured for eight months. But that’s all in the past now, we’ve got to move on to the future and think about the team now.

“I don’t think I’m much of a different player to how I was before. A bit older, maybe, and a bit wiser. I’ve worked under some good managers and coaches, like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and learned a lot of good things.

“I think I needed that run-out on Tuesday. It was a shame to hit the post but these things happen and hopefully I’ll take my next chance. Hopefully I’ve got rid of the cobwebs and can get stuck into it at Coventry. I’ve always got on well with Greg. I know what he expects from his team and he’s done a very good job in the last few years.”

Midfielders James Berrett and Liam Noble are available after bans and Jake Jervis will play the last game of his loan from Birmingham, though assistant manager Graham Kavanagh said United want to keep the striker for longer.

New boss Mark Robins will take charge of the second-bottom Sky Blues for the first time, while Coventry-born Abbott will return to the club where he had a spell as an apprentice.


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