Pompey sweating on Varney

Luke Varney has not trained with Pompey this week
Luke Varney has not trained with Pompey this week

Pompey are sweating on the fitness of Luke Varney for the south coast derby.

The Blues’ top scorer has yet to train this week after injuring his knee against Burnley.

Varney picked up a medial knee ligament strain after colliding with Clarets keeper Lee Grant.

He will be assessed once again today.

But hope is fading that the forward will be fit to face Southampton on Sunday.

Michael Appleton’s only crumb of comfort is the fact Varney returned from a recent hamstring injury earlier than expected two weeks ago.

As a result, Pompey’s boss won’t give up on him until the very last minute.

‘However, he remains doubtful.

Appleton said: ‘We are monitoring Luke daily.

‘He has a sore knee after Burnley. There is a little bit of strain in his medial knee ligament.

‘It is touch and go for Sunday – but you never know.

‘Luke is a quick healer, as he has proven in the past.

‘You do not rule him out. He is that type of person, so enthusiastic.

‘He is desperate to play and sometimes that goes against him so we have got to be careful.

‘I would rather have him fit for 20 games than rush him back for one.

‘We will just have to see on that one.’

Although doubts remain over Varney’s availability for Southampton, Liam Lawrence has trained all week.

In addition, Hermann Hreidarsson is also now fit for selection.

Appleton added: ‘Liam has been back in training with the team this week, which is a bonus.

‘As for Hermann, he has been training for a couple of weeks or so now.

‘He will be available for selection if needed.’