U's sign new striker from Preston

COLCHESTER United completed their third loan signing of the last two days, and their second from Preston, by snapping up striker Karl Hawley on a one-month deal yesterday.

Carl Marston

Colchester soccer

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United completed their third loan signing of the last two days, and their second from Preston, by snapping up striker Karl Hawley on a one-month deal yesterday.

Front-runner Hawley therefore joins Preston team-mate Neal Trotman, who moved from Deepdale on a similar one-month loan deal on Thursday, and also winger Ashley Vincent, who switched from Cheltenham.

But there was also activity in the other direction yesterday. Striker Scott Vernon, who has been in and out of the team all season, signed on a month's loan to League One strugglers Northampton Town.

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Hawley, aged 27, began his career at Walsall but really made his mark at Carlisle, where he scored at a healthy rate of a goal nearly every two games - his record was 34 goals in 78 league appearances.

He was Carlisle's top scorer in the three seasons that he was at Brunton Park, during which the Cumbrians won back-to-back promotions from the Conference and League Two.

Hawley has found goals more difficult to come by in the Championship with Preston over the last couple of seasons. He signed for the Lilywhites on a free transfer during the summer of 2007.

Walsall-born Hawley only managed three league goals in 25 outings last term, and has not scored in seven appearances this season, although he did net twice in 11 outings on loan at Northampton.

Hawley and Trotman have both been named in today's squad at league leaders Leicester City, although Vincent is sidelined by a knee injury.

And Hawley could well start alongside Clive Platt up front, especially after Vernon's departure for Northampton yesterday.

Vernon said: "I am happy to go and play some games really, because I am not playing enough here at the moment. It has been a mixed season for me on a personal level.

"I have turned up for training today and the club have got another striker in, so that has allowed the manager to let me go out on loan."

Northampton boss Stuart Gray said: "Scott is a striker with a decent goals record. He is a hard-working striker and the sort of player who can come in and make an impact."

Vernon is poised to make his Cobblers debut at home to Stockport today.

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