BLACKBURN Rovers expect to complete the permanent signing of Luke Varney after Leeds United confirmed they would be releasing the striker.
The well travelled and versatile frontman spent the final three months of the season on loan at Rovers from Championship rivals Leeds.
But the fantastic form of Rudy Gestede meant he was restricted to just three starts and nine substitute appearances from the bench. Varney, who failed to score in any of the 12 matches in which he featured, admitted he was unable to make his mark at Ewood Park.
But his attitude and application, plus his ability to play out wide, impressed Gary Bowyer and his coaching staff.
And that is why Rovers are set to snap the 31-year-old up on a free transfer once his contract with Leeds runs out next month.
“Luke was desperate to play and we saw that from his attitude and his performances when he did play for us,” said Rovers boss Bowyer.
“I remember Reading away, he was playing like a centre half at the death. They were chucking balls at us and he was there heading and kicking them away.
“He’s such a lively character and he’s got the experience that I think we have needed. He did not play enough in his own mind because of the form of the front two.
“But he worked his socks off every day in training and he was so supportive of the front two.
“He also has the ability to play out wide as well, so he was fantastic for us even though he didn’t feature as much as he would have liked.”
Varney was due to sign for Rovers on January transfer deadline day but new Leeds owner Massimo Cellino pulled the plug on the deal at the last minute.
That left Varney in limbo but after the loan window for signings reopened one week later Cellino sanctioned a temporary move to Rovers with a view to making it permanent in the summer.
The move will also allow Bowyer to concentrate on the other positions he intends to strengthen. A right back sits at the top of his shopping list, but he also wants cover at centre back.
Bowyer has been meeting Rovers owner’s Venky’s in India to thrash out his budget for next season.
Leeds, meanwhile, have also released former Rovers striker El Hadji Diouf.