Appleton adamant Varney and Norris exits close

Luke Varney, front, in Pompey training yesterday    Picture: Robin Jones
Luke Varney, front, in Pompey training yesterday Picture: Robin Jones

Michael Appleton remains confident David Norris and Luke Varney will leave Pompey this week.

The duo appeared for the first day of pre-season training yesterday, unlike Aaron Mokoena – who is close to moving to Bidvest Wits – and Kanu.

Norris and Varney were among 22 players present at Eastleigh, among them Tal Ben Haim and triallists Jon Harley, Mustapha Dumbuya, Simon Eastwood and Laurie Walker.

Varney has been the subject of interest from Leeds, while Norris is being pursued by both Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday.

The indications are both are close to switches to Elland Road in a double deal which would help reduce Pompey’s huge wage bill.

And Appleton believes their departures will be sealed by the middle of this week.

He said: ‘David and Luke turned up for training, as instructed. As did Tal. They realise they are contracted to the club so must do what they are instructed to.

‘David and Luke’s representatives are in discussions with various clubs and it’s just a matter of getting it over the line, really.

‘Probably it’s about sorting out a couple of quid here or there.

‘I will be a bit surprised if they are still here beyond maybe Wednesday or Thursday, though.

‘Generally, there is a realisation from everyone that the players need to leave for the club to move forward.

‘The whole thing has to come down to working together, I have said it numerous times.

‘We all have to work together to come to the right solution – players, managers, administrators and agents.

‘If we do that, I think we can come up with the right answers.’

Mokoena is also expected to leave Pompey within the next 48 hours, completing his move to Bidvest Wits.

All will help drive down the £9.5m wage bill which is delaying the club’s sale.

The Football League are also refusing to sanction any other arrivals, including new members of staff.

That includes the employment of Ashley Westwood, who has been lined up as first-team coach.

He was also not present at training yesterday, despite an agreement being in place.

The anticipated exits of Norris, Varney and Mokoena should ensure he can soon take his place by Appleton’s side.