Cotterill hails double swoop

Luke Varney's arrival has been hailed by Steve Cotterill
Luke Varney's arrival has been hailed by Steve Cotterill
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Steve Cotterill hailed his double deal as Pompey’s rebuilding continues.

Stephen Henderson and Luke Varney will today be officially unveiled by the Blues after a lengthy pursuit.

Their much-needed arrivals come after David Nugent last night sealed his free transfer to Leicester.

The striker, Pompey’s top scorer last season with 14 goals, completed his anticipated move to the big-spending Foxes in a three-year deal after turning down the offer of a new contract at Fratton Park.

Despite Nugent’s exit, the signings of Varney and Henderson takes the total of Blues arrivals this summer to four as boss Cotterill strives to bolster his meagre squad numbers.

The duo will be swiftly followed by Greg Halford, who is expected to join from Wolves by the end of this week.

Henderson, who was a free agent after leaving Bristol City, yesterday trained with his new team-mates.

Varney, who has arrived in a £750,000 deal from Derby, has yet to link up.

The pair remain in the frame to feature in the opening friendly against the Hawks on Monday night (7.45pm).

And a delighted Cotterill believes his squad is slowly beginning to take shape.

He said: ‘It’s great to get the pair of them. They’re good lads.

‘What they will provide is competition which is what we want all over our squad.

‘All the people we are in for this summer are top, top lads, good players or have good potential.

‘Luke gives us good pace, he gives us a goal, he will score with a header and is a good athlete who works hard.

‘What he can do is play all the striking positions, which is what we need.

‘He can play off the left, he can play up top. We need flexibility and Luke gives that.

‘He scored a couple of great goals last year for Blackpool, so it will be nice if he can rattle in more like them.

‘As for Stephen, he has lots of promise and we are pleased we managed to fight off a few clubs to secure his signature.

‘He’s had a couple of good Championship clubs after him and also could have gone to a Premier League club. But he felt if he had gone to the Premier League club he would have been a number two – and he wants to play.

‘So now it is down to him and Jamie (Ashdown) to fight that one out.’

The Halford deal is close to being finalised and he was left out of Wolves’ tour to Ireland earlier this week to enable the move to be completed.

Ian Evatt, Martin Paterson and Peter Whittingham are also high on the Blues boss’ wanted list. And Cotterill is hoping others can also be pushed over the line soon.

He added: ‘Halford is close. That could happen this week.

‘We need another centre forward for competition and are in for somebody.

‘Dave Kitson needs competition, we need that all around.

‘We are in for a few more players still and if they come over the line we will be delighted.’