It’s taken a while, but Forest have finally prized young striker Joe Garner away from Carlisle United; after the disclosure from the Cumbrians that there was a release clause in his contract, it’s unsurprising that things have progressed – with Forest keen to secure the services of the player before facing significant competition for his services once he’s fully fit. Whilst he’s currently injured, he’s ahead of schedule with his recuperation.
Smoulds sounds really chuffed to have secured his services, and the official site describes him as ‘a long-time admirer’ of Garner. He said “Joe’s had a really thorough medical, he is making excellent progress and we are more than happy that he will return to full fitness fairly soon. When we knew there was a chance of getting him I wanted to push ahead and complete the deal because we would have faced a lot of competition from a lot of clubs for a fully fit Joe Garner.“
On the risk of signing an injured player, he added “We don’t consider it a risk in any way. The boy is way ahead of schedule in his rehab and it’s great for us to get the deal done and help him reach full fitness.” On the lads’ potential he said “His record shows that he has an eye for goal but he’s a very strong and brave boy. he can hold the ball up very well and even at this tender age he has shown that he is a proven finisher. I’ve been aware of him for several years and we showed an interest in him at this time last year before Carlisle signed him permanently.“
It’s another example of Smoulders identifying targets he wants very early but biding his time until the right time is here to get them on board, which I approve of. He said “… we could not offer him a regular place at that time and he’s been able to gather great experience with Carlisle last season. Our supporters will have to be a little bit patient until he regains fitness but I think they will be very pleased when they see what he has to offer.“
I’m certainly pleased; I know a few Carlisle fans and when our interest in Garner surfaced they were gutted – particularly when it became apparently the lad himself was keen on the move. In order to secure the move, Forest have triggered the £1.14m release clause in his contract, meaning that Blackburn will receive a chunk of cash, although Carlisle will still make a healthy profit on their initial signing of him. The move looked more likely once they acquired the services of Bridges on loan, presumably to replace the outgoing Garner.
So welcome on board, Joe – I look forward to seeing him get fit and start to push for a place in the side. On another note, Forest will now be anticipating their friendly game with Everton at the City Ground, indeed, on the way past the Trent Bridge area earlier I already saw Reds fans starting to gather – sadly I can’t make the game this evening owing to commitments elsewhere, but it will certainly be interesting to catch up on reports on the performance and the selection Smoulderwood plumps for.