3:40pm Thursday 22nd May 2014
By Paul Wheelock
LUKE Varney is not a signing that has set the fans’ pulses racing.
But it is far too premature to write the striker, whose arrival will be confirmed once his contract at Leeds runs out, off as an unnecessary addition to Gary Bowyer’s squad.
Granted Varney did not pull up any trees in his initial four-month loan spell.
But his failure to shine had less to do with his application and more to do with the dramatic transformation of Rudy Gestede into one of the Championship’s most feared front man.
And for all of Gestede’s undoubted potential few outside the canny Rovers coaching camp could honestly say they saw that coming when Varney belatedly arrived at Ewood Park on February 8.
Just three starts and nine substitute appearances followed.
But while Varney may not have won over the fans, his attitude and professionalism have certainly won favour with his manager and his team-mates alike.
And with another of Bowyer’s possible targets, Liam Feeney, having moved to Bolton – another player who, understandably, Rovers supporters had serious question marks over – Varney’s ability to play out wide also counts in his favour.
As does the fact that, like a number of Bowyer’s signings, he will sign a contract, in the £5,000 to £10,000-per-week wage bracket, that befits a club in the Championship.
Gone are the disastrous days of the summer of 2012 when, under the Shebby Singh-led regime, £30,000-per-week deals were handed out willy-nilly.
Rovers are still paying for those days and will be for two years yet, unless they can somehow shift the likes of Leon Best and Dickson Etuhu this summer.
Reducing the wage bill still has to be owners Venky’s and boss Bowyer’s priority this summer.
But they cannot afford to stand still either and it is imperative they work together to bolster a promising squad that ended the campaign unbeaten in 12 games.
Thanks to Bowyer’s astute work in the transfer work it is a squad which, providing there are no major unexpected losses, that realistically needs only a right back and cover at centre back.
But do not be surprised at the arrival of one or two more squad players – players who are able to operate in a variety of positions and who will not rock the boat if they do not make the starting line-up every week.
Players like Varney.
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