Will Luke Varney be Leeds United's pantomime villain again?

Elland Road Revie Stand

Ex-Leeds forward Luke Varney makes his first return to Elland Road tonight where he was never a crowd favourite, will the Ipswich Town man stay unpopular?

In a two-year stay at Elland Road, Luke Varney scored eight goals in 42 starts, often appearing as a wide man in the absence of any others in Neil Warnock's and then Brian McDermott's squads. But during a difficult period for the club both on and off the pitch, Varney was often made the scapegoat for a series of lacklustre team performances.

It is true that Varney didn't help himself at times. Although he was often played out of his natural position, he missed several glaring goal opportunities and angered many by not acknowledging the Leeds fans after away games, particularly at Hillsborough after the infamous attack on Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in October 2012.

Varney then adopted an aloof attitude to the fans, and didn't celebrate when scoring a brilliant opening goal in the 2-1 FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur in January 2013.   

The main trigger for the Leeds fans' current ire towards Varney is the penalty incident in this season's game at Ewood Park, when the much-travelled forward was at Blackburn Rovers. Leeds had a 1-0 half-time lead but Blackburn equalised against the run of play, and when Varney entered the fray as a 74th-minute substitute he won a hotly-contested late penalty, when Leeds defender Sam Byram was adjudged to have fouled him. TV replays suggested it was a blatant dive.

In his short loan spell from Blackburn, Varney has made just two substitute appearances for Mick McCarthy's promotion-chasing Ipswich Town, but is in line for a dramatic appearance tonight with David McGoldrick and another ex-Leeds man Noel Hunt both injured. Varney will compete with fellow-loanee Chris Wood and Jonathan Parr for a starting spot alongside 21-goal Daryl Murphy in tonight's Sky Bet Championship fixture, but he has proven already this season that he can rattle Leeds fans with an appearance from the bench.

Will Varney be the villain again? 

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