Matching Leon Clarke's goalscoring will be 'hard task' for Scunthorpe United's Nathan Ellington
Nathan Ellington is likely to start Scunthorpe United's game with Bournemouth next Saturday – because the Iron need to up the striker's match fitness.
The on-loan Ipswich Town front man featured from the off for the first time during the 4-0 drubbing at Doncaster Rovers a week ago, but struggled to make much of an impression in a poor team performance.
In an ideal world, manager Brian Laws says United would, for the final time, look to pair up Leon Clarke and Karl Hawley, a strike partnership which has been the highlight of their struggling season.
But with the clash with the Cherries the farewell game of Clarke's prolific loan stint, Scunthorpe need Ellington to hit the ground running.
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"The partnership between Karl Hawley and Leon Clarke has been excellent, very, very good. We've had a lot of positives out of that," said Laws, whose side are without a game today.
"However, if I leave it and leave it and don't give Nathan any time, come the time Leon goes back to Charlton, he's still not match fit.
"We've got to build him up so he is ready to take control of that situation as quickly as possible.
"That was one of my reasons for starting him at Doncaster and to be fair to him and Leon, they didn't get a lot of supply."
"It was difficult to judge his performance, other than to say he got a good 60 minutes under his belt, which was important.
"He needs to see more of the ball for him to do anything. There were some good points, though obviously he's not got the same understanding Leon and Karl Hawley have got.
"Sometimes you can be very fortunate as Karl and Leon found – they hit it off straight away.
"Now we have to think about Karl and Nathan and are we going to give them some game time together?"
Clarke has scored 11 goals in 15 games on loan with the Iron.
Ellington – who has struggled for first-team football, let alone goals, since returning to England following a spell with Greek club Xanthi – says matching the former Wolves trainee's strike rate will be an almost impossible challenge.
"He's made a great impact, I think that's the best anyone could do for a club," he said.
"I've got a hard task to do as good as what he's done, but I'm confident I can do well.
"He's here now and it's great to have him in the team.
"My target is to gain match fitness and score goals for the club, that's basically the long and short of it.
"I'm sure I'll settle in, the more minutes I get I'll improve and the goals will come."