Cheltenham Town have been hit with a huge injury blow after it was revealed striker Luke Varney could be out for around six weeks following knee surgery.
The former Portsmouth, Leeds United and Charlton striker went under the surgeon’s knife on Monday and missed last night’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Swindon at the County Ground.
The news is a massive blow for Robins boss Michael Duff who is also missing another frontman, summer signing Tahvon Campbell, currently on his way back from his own knee injury.
On-loan attacker Gavin Reilly was also missing from last nights win after requiring stitches following Saturday’s 0-0 League Two draw at Exeter City. However, he is expected to be fit for Saturday’s home match against Colchester United.
While Duff can call upon Reuben Reid, Alex Addai, Jonte Smith and George Lloyd to provide cover for Varney, there is little doubt the veteran striker will be a big miss in the Robins promotion push, especially with the busy Christmas period fast approaching.
Since arriving at Whaddon Road following his release from Burton Albion in 2017, the thirty-seven-year-old has scored 20 league goals in forty-three starts, and he’s already this season’s current joint top scorer on six with Ryan Broom.
Duff told Gloucestershire Live a decision was taken to repair the damage to last year’s player of the season’s knee now, rather than risk it deteriorating further and causing a more protracted absence. He said. ‘It’s just a cleanout and he needed it doing.’
‘If it went any longer, there was the risk of it tearing so it is a four to six-week injury, rather than potentially being a four or five-month job, so we had to get him in and out and it went well, I am told, which is pleasing.’
Varney is a top player, and Robins fans will be hoping he is back sooner rather than later.
They can console themselves with the knowledge they have plenty of cover, but will deep down know without their talisman their attack will be lacking some quality.
They will also know, however, that they have a great manager and will trust him to find a solution.
We still tip Cheltenham to be in the promotion mix come May.