JOE Garner is set to join the Rovers 'exiles' in India after being linked with SC East Bengal.

The Blackburn-born striker will join up with former Rovers Academy teammate Anthony Pilkington in the Indian Super League who play their opening game of the season against local rivals ATK Mohun Bagan this evening.

If, as expected, the move goes ahead, the pair will reunite having played together at Wigan Athletic last season.

Garner has seven goals for the Latics this season but acting manager Leam Richardson confirmed their leading scorer had played his last game for the club having been left out of the squad for Tuesday's clash with Bristol Rovers.

There is already a strong Rovers' presence at a SC East Bengal side managed by former striker Robbie Fowler while ex-keeper Bobby Mimms, Tony Grant and Terry McPhillips are all on the coaching staff.

Meanwhile, ahead of their first-ever ISL game, Fowler praised vice captain Pilkington as a 'leader of leaders'.

"When you get a squad and a team together you look around to players who are instrumental in getting the best out of players, within dressing rooms and within training pitches," he told the club's website. "We are quite fortunate at this club because we have got a lot of leaders, we have a lot of winners and we have a lot of vocal people who can bring out the best.

"But for me, the likes of Anthony Pilkington and obviously Danny Fox who is now our club skipper they have been absolutely brilliant in and around the place.

"Keeping everyone together, galvanising everyone and getting the spirit and unity which we want as a staff to show everyone, not just in India, but all over the world what football is all about.

"And when you have got leaders of leaders in Danny Fox and Pilks then it makes us a better and more competitive team."