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Late starter eyes early goal

Boyhood Leicester City fan Luke Varney is hoping to experience déjà vu on Saturday.

The last time the striker started against the Foxes in the Championship, he scored within a minute - and having finally made his full debut for the Addicks on Tuesday night against Norwich City, Varney is hoping he can hold on to that starting berth.

The £2.5m summer signing, who moved to SE7 from Crewe Alexandra, had to wait to take his Valley bow because he sustained ankle ligament damage during pre-season.

But Varney looked sharp after his first start for the club, and will be desperate for a debut goal this weekend.

Varney prepares to shoot past Paddy McCarthy during a training session at The Valley

His quick-fire strike against City came for Crewe in the early part of the 2005/06 campaign, when former Foxes defender Patrick McCarthy lined up for the opposition at The Alexandra Stadium.

Varney received the ball in the penalty area, turned and fired a shot past the goalkeeper to give the home side an early lead, and although Alex doubled their advantage the game ended as a 2-2 draw.

"If I get the nod on Saturday, I'll be delighted,” said the Leicester-born forward.

"I can remember playing against them for Crewe and I scored after 27 seconds, which didn't go down very well.

"But if I can play on Saturday and get that sort of start I'll be delighted, although hopefully I won't score too many past them.”

Eager to get off the mark and live up to the transfer fee paid by Alan Pardew for his services, Varney is pleased with the start he has made to his Valley career.

The 24-year-old (who turns 25 next Friday) was a late substitute against Colchester United last Saturday, where the Addicks drew 2-2 after trailing by two goals, and played 80 minutes against the Canaries in midweek.

A second-string hat-trick in his comeback game prior to that gave Charlton fans an indication of what is to come from the hard-working hitman, who netted on 25 occasions for Crewe last term.

And having felt no ill effects from the injury sustained in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Chelsea during the close season, Varney is looking forward to banging the goals in for his new club.

"I was delighted with the start,” Luke said as he reflected on the Norwich victory. "We played at a high tempo, which is my sort of game, and we got in down the sides a lot as we had practiced in training.

"I was reasonably pleased with the start but then I ran out of puff a bit. I don't know if I need maybe a little bit more work in training.

"I probably went a bit too gung-ho to start with, but that was the excitement of making my home debut, so I'll learn from that hopefully if I get a chance on Saturday.

"A couple of people I've spoken to have said that I did everything but score. As long as I'm getting chances I know that I will eventually put them away.

"If I stop getting chances then I suppose I'll worry but I'm just happy to have played nearly the full 90 minutes and to get a run out at The Valley.”

Of his ankle injury, he added: "At the time I didn't think it was such a big deal but when I think about it now, it was probably the worst time to get injured because everyone was expecting big things from me.

"So to have picked up an injury in a pre-season game was a nightmare, but hopefully I'm over that now and I can continue to work hard and get back in the team so I can show that I'm worth what Charlton have paid for me.

"I didn't really feel my ankle on Tuesday, but I had some other little blows during the game - my hand and back got stood on.

"I think they [Norwich] realised that they were going to have to get into us a bit because we were passing it about and getting in behind them.

Luke celebrates with his replacement, Izale McLeod, after the Norwich victory

"After that they took the physical approach, but I thought we stood up to that well and we deserved to win in the end.”

Varney was excited at the prospect of facing Leicester at The Valley, and continuing where he left off in terms of performance.

And, as a City supporter, he was confident that the Addicks would be able to claim their second home victory in five days.

The Foxes are 20th in the Championship having won once so far under former boss Martin Allen, who was booted out by owner Milan Mandaric after just four games.

Gary Megson is the new man in charge at The Walkers Stadium, and Varney expressed his concern over the uncertainty at the East Midlands club.

He said: "It's a mad situation. I've spoken to a few of the lads and staff there and it's crazy. There's people in and people out - I know Mandaric wants to get it right and he's not a very patient man.

"But, in terms of play, they aren't as technically gifted as us, and if we can match their work-rate, we should beat them on Saturday.”

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Charlton v Leicester City


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