WHEN York City manager Martin Foyle looked to add artistry to his midfield this summer, it is understandable that he turned to Alex Lawless.

After all, the former Forest Green Rovers schemer is as skilful with a pencil in his hand as he is a football at his feet.

The 24-year-old Welshman’s secret talent first drew attention when he produced a portrait of Sir Alex Ferguson and he is hoping to pursue his “hobby” again now he is settled in his new club house along with City team-mates Daniel Parslow, Neil Barrett, James Meredith and Richard Pacquette.

“I’ve got out of the habit a bit,” he admitted about his passion for art. “But I’m in the process of taking it up again.

“There are some portraits of my mates that are waiting to be done. I wouldn’t mind trying to make a living from it one day but my main priority is football.”

The Ferguson picture is Lawless’ pride and joy, taking several sittings to perfect.

“I’m nowhere near as quick as Rolf Harris,” Lawless laughed, “although I’d need to be getting up to his speed if I do it professionally one day.”

The ex-Welsh Under-21 international is also hoping that Sir Alex might one day sign his portrait, adding: “I was going to send it to him but that picture means a lot to me. I put a lot of effort into it and I don’t want it to end up in the wrong hands and I never see it again.

“I’d like to get it signed though not because that might make it valuable but because that will mean it has his seal of approval.”

Lawless could always call on former Fulham team-mate Edwin van der Sar to act as a go-between with the Manchester United chief although he has not crossed paths with the 130-capped Holland international goalkeeper in recent times.

About his career with the Premier League Cottagers, the City midfielder said: “It was incredible – the best time of my life. I was a little starstruck though because I’m a Manchester United fan and to see Van der Sar and Louis Saha join them after I had been training with them felt a bit weird.

“I didn’t score many past Van der Sar in training because he was as good as his star status but it makes you smile that bit wider when you put one past somebody like him.”

Another famous former international sportsman has shown great interest in Lawless’ art work, which he only pursued to GCSE level at school.

Ex-England wicket-keeper Jack Russell, a keen artist himself, was well placed to cast his eye over Lawless’ drawings as a Forest Green season-ticket holder and one-time goalkeeping coach at the Gloucester club.

Lawless said: “He found out I did a bit and really wanted to see my drawings.

“I showed him and his compliments gave me more encouragement because I know what a good artist he is.

“I’m still in contact with him now, which is quite nice because he’s a bit of a legend and a very, very nice guy.”

Hands-on Ingham grasps early lead

GOALKEEPER Michael Ingham has taken an early grip of the leadership in The Press player of the year ratings.

His starring second-half at his former club Wrexham in midweek gave him the three points as our man of the match to put him out in front.

The other points-winners from the Racecourse Ground defeat were midfielder Levi Mackin (2) and striker Michael Rankine (1).

The star performer in the win over Forest Green Rovers was defensive sentinel David McGurk. His three-point display was followed by winger Craig Nelthorpe (2) and penalty-scorer Rankine who took the single point.

All votes will also stand a chance of presenting the Player of the Month with a framed photograph on the pitch before a City home game.

The Press Player of the Year standings: Ingham 6 points, Mackin 5, McGurk 4, Rankine 3, Nelthorpe 2, Parslow 2, Purkiss 2.

The Press August Player of the Month standings: Ingham 6 points, Mackin 5.4, Rankine 5.4, McGurk 4, Nelthorpe 2, Parslow 2, Purkiss 2, Barrett 0.4, Ferrell 0.4, Lawless 0.4.

Goals: Brodie 1, Rankine, Smith; asssists: Lawless 1; bad boys: Barrett 1 booking, Brodie 1, Ferrell 1, Mackin 1, McGurk.