Appy bemoans Varney absence

Pompey striker Luke Varney
Pompey striker Luke Varney
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Pompey are badly missing Luke Varney’s presence.

That is the verdict of Michael Appleton, who is once again robbed of the services of his joint-top scorer for today’s trip to Leicester.

The 29-year-old is still troubled by a medial knee ligament strain, ensuring he sits out his third Pompey match in a row.

But there remains a chance Varney could return for Monday’s visit of Watford to Fratton Park.

Blues boss Appleton is desperate to get the versatile forward back in his team.

And he admits he has struggled to replace him since the front man picked up his knee injury at Burnley three weeks ago.

‘Luke is getting better and better all the time,’ said Appleton.

‘Being honest, I think today has come a little bit too quickly for him.

‘I realised after 10 minutes of the Burnley game how important he is for the team.

‘You only had to look against Millwall. We were crying out for a threat behind and Luke, at the minute, is our only option to do that.

‘That’s a fact. I am not saying anything that’s not true. That’s where we are at this football club.

‘There are loads of things I want to improve if I am given the opportunity to, but at the minute I haven’t and I can’t.

‘Hopefully, we can get Luke back on the field of play so he can show everyone what a good player he is.

‘We are not going to count out him coming back in time for Watford.

‘But I am not prepared to risk Luke’s fitness for the sake of one or two games if I feel I can have him for 20 games.

‘I will monitor that over the next two or three days and make that judgement.’