Pompey set for double delight

Luke Varney
Luke Varney
Derry City winger Ronan Curtis

Transfer Gossip: Pompey linked with Ireland Under-21 ace

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Pompey are set to complete a double swoop within the next 24 hours.

Stephen Henderson will today undergo a medical ahead of a free transfer switch.

He is to be joined by Luke Varney as the Blues look to finally wrap up a £750,000 deal from Derby.

They represent timely arrivals for Steve Cotterill with just eight players returning to full training today.

They include summer signings David Norris and Jason Pearce, who joined their new team-mates on Friday and Saturday for fitness tests.

Training officially begins today at the Wellington Sports Ground, with Pompey’s opening friendly with Havant & Waterlooville on Monday, July 11, looming.

In the meantime, numbers will be swelled by the arrivals of Henderson and Varney.

Cotterill’s interest in Henderson was revealed in The News on Saturday as he looks to provide goalkeeping competition for Jamie Ashdown.

The 23-year-old was crowned Yeovil’s player of the year last season during a loan spell from Bristol City.

The Robins were eager to keep him at Ashton Gate, offering a new two-year deal.

But Henderson, who was behind David James and Dean Gerken in the pecking order, elected to become a free agent.

Pompey have beaten off competition from Charlton for the Dubliner, although once the deal goes through Bristol City will be entitled to compensation due to his age.

Henderson flew over from Ireland yesterday and will have a medical this morning in Eastleigh before sealing his transfer.

In addition, Varney is at last set to seal his Fratton Park arrival.

The Blues’ long-standing interest in the former Blackpool striker has been no secret.

Surplus to requirements at Derby, he told The News two weeks ago of his desire to work with Cotterill.

The 28-year-old former Charlton man scored five goals in the Premier League last season as he impressed for the Tangerines.

Now the Blues have won the race to bring him to the south coast and strengthen a striking pool light on numbers since the departures of David Nugent and Danny Webber.

Varney will not be at training today, although the paperwork over his transfer is expected to be completed in the next 24 hours.

Cotterill has several other targets he is eager to recruit ahead of the pre-season tour to America, which starts on July 17.

Greg Halford remains top of the list following an outstanding loan spell last season.

Wolves are keen to do business and the versatile defender has publicly admitted he would love to come back to Fratton.

Once the deals for Henderson and Varney have been pushed over the line, Halford is the next likely arrival.

There is also interest in Martin Paterson and Peter Whittingham, although bids have been rejected.

Pompey, though, continue to pursue both targets, who are now catching the attention of rival clubs, with Reading showing interest in Paterson.

Meanwhile, Liam Lawrence, Kanu and Tal Ben Haim will return to training on Friday.

Those expected at Eastleigh today are Hayden Mullins, Jamie Ashdown, Aaron Mokoena, Joel Ward, Ricardo Rocha, Dave Kitson, Pearce and Norris.