Ex-PNE pair aim to shoot down old club

Striker: Much-travelled attacker Leon Clarke featured for North End during the tenure of Phil Brown
Striker: Much-travelled attacker Leon Clarke featured for North End during the tenure of Phil Brown
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Two ex-Preston North End strikers look set to line up against their former club tonight as they look to fire Scunthorpe United out of trouble.

Leon Clarke and Karl Hawley spearheaded the Iron attack in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Swindon.

And it’s likely they will be doing so again when Preston visit Glanford Park.

Neither, it’s fair to say, enjoyed the best of times at Deepdale.

Hawley netted five goals in 33 appearances during a two-year stay in Lancashire.

The 30-year-old has pulled on the shirts of five other clubs since leaving in August 2009.

Scunthorpe is his latest port of call, with Hawley joining them in the summer after being released by Notts County.

Clarke, 27, is on loan at the North Lincolnshire outfit from Charlton and is Scunny’s leading scorer with six League One goals.

He joined PNE on loan soon after Phil Brown’s arrival as manager, one of a number of temporary signings made in an attempt to patch up a relegation-threatened side.

The Midlands-born striker managed a single goal in six appearances before he returned to his then parent club Queens Park Rangers early.

Clarke scored in each of his first five appearances for Scunthorpe, then after firing blanks for two games, found the net again in their 1-1 draw against Brentford 11 days ago.

Scunny go into this evening’s game third bottom of the table and without a win in their last five matches.

They’ve only won twice in the league this season, ending Shrewsbury’s long unbeaten home record in September and then beating Colchester.

The weekend’s draw at Swindon came as a boost, Hawley on target with a second-half equaliser.

One of the reasons for Scunthorpe’s plight at the wrong end of the table is a shortage of goals.Not since March have they scored more than once in a league game, a run of 19 matches.

Yet they managed a 5-5 draw with Derby in the League Cup!

Iron boss Alan Knill said: “If we weren’t creating anything I’d be worried, but we are creating chances.

“We’ll be positive against Preston to try and get the three points.”