Varney out to repay the support and faith shown by Ipswich Town

Luke Varney takes to the pitch as a substitute for Jonathan Douglas. Picture: Steve Waller ww

Luke Varney takes to the pitch as a substitute for Jonathan Douglas. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

The support Luke Varney received from everyone at Ipswich Town made the toughest spell of the forward’s career so much easier to handle.

The 33-year-old returned to the Portman Road pitch during Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Derby where, just over seven months ago, he ruptured his Achilles during the play-off semi-final, first leg, draw with Norwich and was stretchered off to begin an extended spell on the sidelines. His release by parent club Blackburn later that summer meant he was without a contract and on the wrong side of 30.

The Blues stuck by their former loanee, helping him with his rehab with the promise of a deal at the end of it which, just a few days prior to his return against the Rams, was signed and sealed.

He couldn’t be more grateful.

“I built myself up to it but once I got out there it didn’t really feel like I’d been away,” he said. “It felt like I was injured just last week.

“It’s probably been the toughest time of my career but it was made easy by the staff, the players and everyone involved. I’ve kept true to myself and worked as hard as I could to get back as quick as I could and everyone’s happy with how I’ve applied myself.

“Most of all, I’m happy with myself because I’ve worked as hard as I could do to get back on the pitch.

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“I was desperate to get back out there, so once it was all made public I was delighted, it meant I could put the shirt back on again and get out there.”

While he felt no reaction to his old injury following his first game back, Varney knows he still has a way to go before he is fully-fit, given how long he’s been sidelined.

“The Achilles is fine and it’s everything else which is hurting now,” he said.

“I’ll have to deal with that for a little bit because I’ve had a mini pre-season. I’ve looked after myself, although I’m not going to say I’m ready to go 100 per cent full tilt, but I’m ready if I get the shout.

“I did a lot of swimming, a lot of gymnastics, pilates, yoga – things I haven’t done before. I might have to carry on doing them, I’m not getting any younger.

“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

“I like those sort of quotes and I worked off them and the lads and the gaffer made it very easy for me.

“I’ve got nothing but praise for them and hopefully I can now repay them.”

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