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Striker Joe Garner has done the rounds a little bit, even for a player of 29-years of age. Spells at Blackburn, Carlisle, Nottingham Forest, Scunthorpe, Watford, and Preston all preceded his current mission at Rangers.
It wouldn’t be fair to say the jury is out on him as far as Pedro Caixinha is concerned. Rather, it looks as though he has already made his mind up that Garner is not of sufficient standard to help launch the club’s top-flight recovery next season.
After losing Daryl Murphy to Newcastle a year ago, Ipswich Town have been lacking that focal point; a striker, a no.9 of one description or another who can be a match-winner and make the difference between worrying about relegation and the relative comfort of the Championship mid-table. It appears that Mick McCarthy is interested in signing Garner and is ready to make a £500k bid and he may well be just what is needed at Portman Road next season.
Having not looked prolific at all in his early career, Garner predictably started to hit somewhat of a peak at around 26-years of age. Having not reached double-figures in the league since his earliest days at Carlisle, Garner suddenly hit form at Preston in 2013/14 when he banged in 19 goals in 37 league games. Proving this was not a one-off, the man from Blackburn followed that up with another 26 Championship goals the following year, proving that when given the chance up front, he will get goals.
Quieter spells have since followed, but although the Scottish Premiership is not competitive these days, playing for Rangers brings its own pressures and it has to be said that it may need broader shoulders than what he’s got, to live up to the expectations that come from the Ibrox crowd.
His goals at Championship level in England though show that, for whatever reason, this is the level and environment for him. Ipswich could bag the forward at a relatively cheap price and would be getting a player playing, in theory at least, in his peak years. That kind of assurance is extremely hard to come by and should be pounced on by the club.
It’s hard to say where Ipswich will finish next season but two things are sure: 1) Nobody will pay them too much attention in the close-season and that is a nice advantage to have and 2) They’ll be a better team and squad with Joe Garner in their ranks.