Pompey hero lauds hitman’s impact

Guy Whittingham lauded the Luke Varney effect.

Varney’s two goals proved the difference as the resurgent Blues picked up a 3-1 win over Doncaster on Saturday.

His double made it five for the season for the 29-year-old old following his arrival from Derby.

Varney showed he is thriving since being switched to a striking role in a 4-4-2.

Whittingham – one of the greatest poachers in Pompey’s history – knows a thing or two about strikers.

And he believes a switch to two up top has been a dream move for the hitman.

Whittingham said: ‘I thought Luke played well.

‘He will always catch the eye because he runs and never stops.

‘Strikers like to play in a partnership.

‘I’ve played up front on my own and it’s a harder game.

‘It’s more of a team effort, whereas in a two you can work off each other more.

‘One can come short and the other can go long.

‘That gives a different problem for defenders.

‘He’s a character and energises other people. He’s great to have around.

‘You know when you have Luke Varney he’ll run his socks off for you.’

Whittingham was also full of praise for Varney’s strike partner Dave Kitson.

Kitson scrambled home the second goal in the second-half and delivered a hard-running and hard-working performance. That went down well with the Fratton faithful and he was afforded an ovation for his efforts as he was replaced by Marko Futacs late on.

Whttingham is fully aware industrious performances will always go down well with the Blue Army.

He said: ‘Dave is showing his confidence and the crowd were getting behind him.

‘They played their part when we dropped off in the second half. They just love people who give their all at this club.

‘If they do that they’ll never say a bad word about them and that’s what Dave did.

‘We wanted to introduce Marko to give him a game.

‘But Kits had also had a good game and worked hard, so we wanted him to enjoy an ovation and give him a breather.’

Whittingham believes confidence is back in Pompey’s game after three strong performances which have harvested two wins.

The stand-in boss felt his side dropped off after a quick start on Saturday but stepped up their game after the break.

He said: ‘Confidence in players is the biggest attribute you need.

‘You get it from doing well and the players did well against Doncaster.

‘They took the confidence from the Ipswich game and brought it into this one.

The Ipswich game was probably better over 90 minutes, although we wouldn’t want to underestimate the second-half performance against Doncaster.

‘We made it harder for ourselves having dropped off the pace.

‘They are a good footballing side and we shouldn’t have given them a sniff but we were better in the second-half.’