Travel-weary Varney has finally found his home

Luke Varney locks horns with current Pompey strike partner Dave Kitson during his spell at Derby

Luke Varney locks horns with current Pompey strike partner Dave Kitson during his spell at Derby

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Luke Varney has finally been able to hang up his hiking boots.

And Pompey are reaping the rewards.

At the age of 29 the much-travelled forward has at last found a home in the shape of Fratton Park after joining in the summer.

It put an end to a roaming existence which had seen him turn out for five clubs in three years.

The 2008-09 season alone saw Varney start at Charlton, move to Derby, go on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and then end the campaign back at Derby.

Fittingly, Pompey’s man of the moment heads back to Pride Park this weekend.

During more than two-and-a-half years with County he made just 15 appearances and scored the one goal.

He was shipped out on season-long loans at Sheffield Wednesday and then Blackpool.

These days he has established himself in the Blues first team with five goals in 11 matches, three of which have come in the last three matches.

Varney also has the reassurance of a three-year deal on the south coast.

And he believes his performances are a reflection of his new-found stability.

He said: ‘I’m just in a happy place now.

‘At Blackpool last year, I actually scored five in 12 games and it’s just for personal reasons that it didn’t quite work for me in the second part of the season. Coming down here, getting settled in a house now and the birth of my daughter is just fantastic for me.

‘I’m in a good place and it will only be reflected well on my football.

‘It’s important to be settled, I have never really had that for a long time.

‘To be honest, the clubs I have been on loan at have been fantastic for me and made me feel very welcome.

‘People know I put 100 per cent in while I was there.

‘It’s just difficult sometimes when you don’t know where you are going to be at the end of the season.

‘You just want a settled base and that is what I have found here.

‘To be honest, it was a tough decision to uproot my family from Leicester, with one about to be born.

‘We now live in Newbury. It’s a good commute to Leicester for the wife and it is half-an-hour for me.

‘But it is a decision I am really pleased I made. My wife is really pleased as well, so it’s all good.’

Varney endured a forgettable time at Derby following an initial loan spell in November 2008.

It was Paul Jewell who signed him with a view to a permanent deal, yet the boss was dismissed just a month later.

Regardless, the wheels had been put into motion for Varney to sign for good.

He would make just six more appearances for the Rams under new boss Nigel Clough before joining Pompey this summer.

The move is already looking like excellent business for the Blues, with Varney re-establishing himself as a central striker.

He is set to lead the attack again alongside Dave Kitson on Saturday.

Not that the ex-Crewe man is unfamiliar with the role.

He added: ‘I’ve not really done it since I was at Sheffield Wednesday, when I scored a few goals.

‘That’s my preferred position but I still enjoy playing wide.

‘You work your socks off on the wing but find you’ve used a bit of your energy up defending.

‘So if I can use my energy a bit closer to the goal I am sure I will be in and around the goals and that will benefit the team.

‘At Crewe, I was part of a three with Dean Ashton the central striker and me wide.

‘But once he went, me and Nicky Maynard made a great partnership and scored quite a lot of goals.

‘Then I signed for Charlton as a centre-forward but eventually they put me out wide and it has just stuck since then.’

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