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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Watford boss to give Carlisle Utd go-ahead to extend Joe Garner loan

Watford boss Gianfranco Zola is set to give Carlisle United the green light to keep Joe Garner on loan.

Joe Garner photo
Joe Garner tries to find a way through

Greg Abbott will wait until after Tuesday night’s game with Doncaster Rovers before opening talks with the loan striker.

Garner’s second month on loan expires after the home clash and the Blues boss is keen to extend his stay at Brunton Park.

The 24-year-old has made a vital contribution since his arrival from Watford in September, hitting seven goals in 12 games, including five in the last five matches, although he was left to rue a missed penalty in Carlisle’s 2-1 defeat at Brentford on Saturday.

The Cumbrians have been heavily reliant on the player who has scored nearly a third of the team’s 21 league goals this season, but who has found himself completely out of favour at Vicarage Road.

Garner’s long-term future is still up in the air, and News & Star Sport can reveal Zola will not block Carlisle’s attempts to keep him beyond his current loan spell. The former Chelsea star would even be open to a permanent deal in the January transfer window, although Carlisle are certain to face fierce competition from other clubs if they wanted to keep Garner.

The striker, who is back at United for a third spell, has brought crucial goals in the absence of big targetman Lee Miller, who is still several weeks away from a return to action following the ankle injury he suffered on the opening day of the season.

Abbott is also excited about the tantalising prospect of pairing Garner and Miller together in what could potentially be one of the most exciting strike partnerships in League One.

Garner, who is still Carlisle’s record buy after they splashed out £140,000 to sign him from Blackburn in 2007, is also seen as the perfect influence for 18-year-old rising star Mark Beck.

Abbott said: “I think Mark needs to take a good look at Joe and the way he puts himself about.

“He should realise how much of an impact he could have if he had the same determination and nasty streak as Joe.”

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