Fan banter - Luke Varney. A Derby view
With Pompey recently completing the signing of Luke Varney from Derby we have got a 'fans-eye-view' from a Ram.
The ed on Vital Derby, MikeC, has kindly answered a few questions for us in an attempt to give us a better insight into Varney.
Without further ado this is what was asked and what was said...
Were you disappointed that Luke Varney left Derby?
Honestly? No, not really but that's no judgement on him as a player just the fact that he's never really been given a big chance at Pride Park so you can't really miss what you never had. He wasn't given a big run in the side at Derby but at the time he wasn't really the type of player you need in a battle at the wrong end of the Championship table. Fair play to him though you never heard him complain to the press when it was obvious his future lay elsewhere and I never read about him having a bad word to say about the club or manager.
Given the fact that he has been sent out on loan a few times and it had been made 'pretty clear' he was not in the plans it is not really a surprise that he was allowed to leave. Why were Derby so keen to offload though and why have things not worked out for him with you?
Varney's face never really fit in at Derby for one reason or another, Paul Jewell brought him in on loan with a view to a permanent deal and then left the club before the transfer window opened. By that point Nigel Clough had taken charge and kind of had him foisted upon him but obviously didn't really fancy him as a player. The side was struggling at the time and he never really got going in a Rams' shirt before being left out of the side and from then on his days were numbered.
Varney was deployed at rightback in a couple of friendlies the following pre-season which must have indicated to him his time at Derby was over and he spent the season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday but couldn't help prevent them going down. He came back to Pride Park before a surprise move to Blackpool gave him a year in the Premiership where his form followed that of his new side, superb to start off with before not quite being good enough come May. He was reportedly one of the top earners at Derby and with the raft of new signings and only a year to go on his contract it was only a matter of time before he moved on in the end.
What are the strongest areas and qualities of his game?
His pace and hardwork are what spring to mind from the few games I saw him play and his attitude never wavered even when only being used sparingly as a sub in his time here. To be honest I didn't see much of him during his time at Hillsborough but saw some of his games for Blackpool last year where he looked effective from a wide position and his versatility to play a number of positions will be useful.
And the things that he is not so good at, or what let him down?
Varney seems to be a confidence based player and whilst his tail is up he looks a decent player but if playing in a struggling side like when he first came to Derby he's not the sort of player who will turn a game in your favour. Don't get me wrong he'll always give his all but he won't dominate a game with his physical presence or get the team going with a thundering challenge.
If you were to hazard a guess, not that I suspect you really care that much, what would it be that you think made him want to join Pompey?
Given the right signings and a few results I think you could be looking at the top end of the table next season and whilst he wasn't in Clough plans he was looking to move on and it could turn into a good deal for all involved. To be honest I think if Blackpool had stayed up he would have gone there but with their relegation and a few players moving on I think that put paid to any deal that was in place.
So, all in all have we made a good or bad signing here with Varney?
He's not the short of player who can win you a game single-handedly or who will create something from nothing but find him a role in the side and he'll do a good job for you. His start at Blackpool last season shows he has pace to worry top level defenders and when his confidence is up he can be a threat. He's not going to score you twenty goals a season or be a tricky winger depending where he plays but he's a good solid Championship player who will work hard and his versatility across the front line will always come in useful with a smaller squad.
Whilst we are talking what do you think would be the right hopes, or expectations, for both Derby and Pompey this season?
I think Pompey were one of the few clubs who managed on a smaller squad then we did at times last season but when you had everyone fit and playing well you looked a decent size. I think much will depend on who you bring in before the season starts and how they settle in but I think you should be looking at least top ten if you get a couple of decent runs during the season.
For Derby I think a lot depends on how quickly all of the new boys settle in and whether they can form a team. I can't really argue with any of the signings (although Nathan Tyson may be a controversial one after his flag waving!) and they all bring something to the side we've been lacking in various guises with leadership being something we really missed last season when we were struggling. I think we'll be top half this time around although it's going to be another tight season and despite the right noises being made by the management I think we're still a top goalscorer away from seriously pushing for promotion although you never know in the Championship if we get on a run.
Thanks to MikeC.
I suspect that our paths will cross again during the course of the season, a season that I wish Derby well in, although not too well mind!
PLAY UP POMPEY!