Karl Hawley to step up and become main goalscoring source for Scunthorpe United
BRIAN Laws believes Karl Hawley is ready to take on the mantle of becoming Scunthorpe United's biggest source of goals during the remainder of the season.
And the Iron boss today backed the experienced front man to fire his side to League One safety.
Hawley's work-rate and application have been one of the highlights of an often demoralising season.
But having scored twice in as many matches to help Scunthorpe pick up four points from six, Laws says Hawley is ready to fill the void formed when his one-time strike partner Leon Clarke left the club at the end of a prolific loan spell.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"Leon Clarke got all the limelight at the time, but he benefited from Karl," the United boss told the Telegraph.
"Now I think I can see him (Hawley) taking that mantle on and having a go at it.
"I think Karl has seen that he is now feeding off (Akpo) Sodje and he will benefit from that.
"He's certainly getting in better positions and is having more shots on target.
"He's actually now contributing to the goal tally as well – he scored one but he could have had three on Saturday.
"He is now playing a more forward role rather than having to be the link man. He's the one feeding off somebody else.
"I hope that's going to continue to be the process."
Hawley's goal return since he arrived at Scunthorpe in September is the closest he has come to recreating the prolific spell he enjoyed at Carlisle United earlier in his career, when he shot to prominence.
The 31-year-old, who netted against the Cumbrians last weekend, averaged a goal every two-and-a-half games at Brunton Park.
The seven he has scored for the Iron, in 22 league appearances, is more than he mustered in more than 80 matches at previous club Notts County and better than his two years at Preston and loan spells with Northampton, Colchester and Crawley.
As a partnership, Laws admits Hawley and Sodje have not quite reached the level the former did with Clarke – whose 11 goals in 14 games ensure Scunthorpe are still in the race for survival at this stage of the campaign.
But he is sure Hawley – who told the Telegraph after the draw with his former club: "It doesn't matter who I'm playing with, Ronald McDonald could be up there and I'd still enjoy it" – will continue to grow into his new role.
"He's a good player, I like him," Laws added.
"He's strong – but he understands the game really well.
"He can actually play a couple of roles for us that are vital on how we play away from home.
"All strikers love scoring goals but we want everybody to do that, from the full-backs to the strikers.
"We need everybody contributing – we can't just rely on one player. If we focus on one player, we're doomed.
"They're all starting to chip in now, which is a big sign of the progress we're making."