Oh, baby - that one was for you

Luke Varney is denied by a last-ditch challenge from Jay McEveley
Luke Varney is denied by a last-ditch challenge from Jay McEveley
Conor Chaplin. Pic: Joe Pepler

Baker and team selection to fore as Pompey fans have say

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Striker Luke Varney toasted his Pompey return with a goal and dedicated his timely strike to new-born baby daughter Brooke.

The 29-year-old had missed the Blues’ past three league games through suspension following a straight red card for a challenge on Hull City’s James Chester at the KC Stadium last month.

While he frustratingly sat out Pompey’s matches against Blackpool, Peterborough and Leeds, the former Derby marksman was able to keep himself occupied following the birth of the newest member of the Varney family.

But there were no signs of sleepless nights on his eventual return to the Pompey line-up.

The frontman thrived in a new-look 4-4-2 formation – striking up a partnership with Benjani up front.

And a goal in the 62nd minute was just reward for a performance that earned Varney the official man-of-the-match award.

It was also the perfect way to share his good news with the Fratton faithful – the Blues ace delightedly pointing to baby Brooke’s name, which he had printed on his boots, and sucking his thumb as he celebrated converting substitute Dave Kitson’s cross.

‘I’ve just had a baby daughter,’ explained Varney.

‘She’s nine days old and the wife printed her name on there.

‘So I thought I’d point to that and suck my thumb because that’s all she’s done since she was born.

‘I’m really pleased on a personal level and on the pitch as well. I’ve been told a load of times that I don’t get into those sort of areas enough.

‘I’m pleased the ball landed to Kits because he’s got a good footballing brain and you know he’ll pick you out.’

Varney added he was grateful the chance fell his way after squandering a golden opportunity to put the Blues in front on the hour mark.

‘I’m so happy because I missed a chance just before it,’ he said.

‘I’m pleased I was able to put that right and help the team towards a valuable three points.’