LEEDS United striker Luke Varney has set his heart on signing for Blackburn Rovers.
The 31-year-old asked Brian McDermott to be left out of Leeds’ squad for their clash with Ipswich on Tuesday to avoid jeopardising a potential move to Ewood Park.
Varney had just forced his way back into Whites boss McDermott’s plans after a nine-game spell out of the team.
But once he became aware of Rovers’ interest he made his feelings clear to his manager.
McDermott said: “Luke spoke to me and felt he didn’t want to get injured in the game as it would have jeopardised his opportunity to go to Blackburn.
“He would have been in the team – what can I do? Each to their own. If he felt that way and someone says that to you, you can’t put them in the team as you can imagine.”
McDermott confirmed that transfer talks have taken place between the Championship rivals.
But Rovers are still waiting to seal a deal for Varney as Leeds battle serious off-the-field problems.
It has emerged that the group looking to take over the Whites is on the verge of withdrawing its bid.
At this stage it is unclear as to whether any deal to bring Varney – who is out of contract in the summer – to Rovers will be permanent or on loan.
But if the former Crewe, Derby, Charlton and Portsmouth man does man join Gary Bowyer’s side he will provide competition for Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede.
Varney, who has scored 76 goals in 262 career starts, can also play out wide.
That will appeal to Rovers boss Bowyer after he lost Ben Marshall to suspected ankle-ligament damage.
Bowyer suffered a fresh blow on Tuesday when centre-midfielder Lee Williamson was stretchered off in the 2-2 draw at Barnsley.
While the injury is not as bad as first feared Williamson has been diagnosed with concussion – which makes him a serious doubt for Saturday’s home game against Blackpool.
Should the 31-year-old be ruled out of there could be a debut for new loan signing Bryan Dabo.
Bowyer said: “We’ll assess how Willo is but Bryan may be thrust straight into it on Saturday.
“Willo was not too bad in the dressing room afterwards. He was sitting up but he’s got a nasty whack to his eye as well so we’ll assess him and see where we go from there.”