New-boy Luke Varney is in no doubt where his best position for Pompey will be this season.
The £750,000 summer signing from Derby County marked his Blues debut with a goal in the 4-0 victory over the Hawks last night.
Varney also set up Hayden Mullins for Pompey’s second strike as he excelled in the left-wing role manager Steve Cotterill – who was joined in the dug-out by new assistant first-team coach Stuart Gray – has earmarked for him this term.
It’s a position Varney is all too familiar with, having spent time there during a successful loan spell with Blackpool in the Premier League last season.
And, despite playing as a central striker in the past for the likes of Derby, Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday, it’s out on the left flank where the 28-year-old is keen to persist as he looks to make a instant impact with his new employers at Fratton Park.
‘I’m really pleased the gaffer wants me to play like that, out on the left,’ said Varney.
‘I’ll enjoy having a bit of freedom down that side and linking up with Dave Kitson or whoever the gaffer might bring in.
‘Probably, over the past 18 months, I’ve tended to drift out to the left – I’ve found it quite natural.
‘I did go up top for a couple of games last year and it felt a bit alien, a bit weird, but I think just playing on the shoulder anywhere across the front is good for me.
‘I got some good passes in last night from out there, but probably didn’t do as well as I should have – but it will come.
‘It will come after a few more games, so all in all I was pleased with the performance.’
Varney, who scored five times for Blackpool in 24 appearances last season, was a constant threat for Pompey as they disposed of their Blue Square South counterparts at West Leigh Park.
His pace, vision and movement gave the Blues a cutting edge on the night and gave fans an early glimpse of what they can expect from the forward in the months ahead.
While fellow new arrival David Norris, who skippered the side on the night, was substituted in the second half, Varney lasted the full 90 minutes at the home of the Hawks and sealed victory with his late strike.
And he admitted it was good to get his Pompey career off to such a positive start.
‘It’s always important to do well on your debut,’ said Varney.
‘I’ve always been able to set a few chances up and get into space, and you want your other team-mates to see what your about.
‘I really enjoyed the run-out. I thought it was a good game.
‘We always know these pre-season games, against non-league sides, are really competitive in the first half but then our quality and training showed through in the second half.
‘We kept the ball well in the second half, created some good chances and the lads were a bit more clinical.
‘It was all about getting 90 minutes in your legs last night and I’m really pleased the boys managed to get a good work out and get a decent result at the end of it.
‘It was a good result and, overall, a good day for the lads.’
Varney was also pleased with the understanding he’s already developed with some of his new Blues team-mates.
‘There’s obviously names who have been put about in terms of new signings, but I’m really pleased with what’s here at the minute,’ he added.
‘I’ve enjoyed playing with them (the players) and training with them so far.
‘So if I can get some partnerships going, hopefully I’ll enjoy a good, long season here with Portsmouth.’