League One preview: Trust long arm of Brian Laws


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The Independent Football

After two years in the managerial wilderness, Brian Laws isn't hanging about in his bid to turn things around at Scunthorpe and we think there's some value to be found in the 19/10 quotes about the resurgent Iron taking maximum points against high-flying Notts County in League One on Saturday.

Laws replaced Alan Knill at Glanford Park a fortnight ago and was given a quick dose of reality when basement leaders Gillingham dished out a four-goal hiding in the FA Cup first round for his first game, all of which was a far cry from the standards he left behind for Nigel Adkins six years ago.

It wasn't the baptism Laws would have wanted but it was probably a blessing in disguise judging by the last two performances. The former Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley boss quickly identified the root causes behind the collapse at Priestfield and vowed to take things back to basics on the training ground.

Since then, Walsall and Coventry have been put to the sword on successive trips to the West Midlands and now Laws is urging his new troops to carry those standards into this game against East Midlands opposition, citing the importance of rebuilding a rapport with home fans after a prolonged barren spell under the previous regime.

The stats provide little encouragement. Scunthorpe have the worst home record in the division with just a solitary success in eight attempts and the Magpies currently boast a club-record 16-match unbeaten away run. But the short-term evidence is begging for the tide to turn on both fronts.

From a psychological perspective, the slate has been wiped clean for Scunny. Laws' return provides a fresh start and we should bank on the players embracing the olive branch being handed out by a crowd that has heckled them for the most part. It also helps that Laws has now got them focused on the process from a tactical standpoint.

Meanwhile, we sense that County could be on shaky ground in the winter months as minds begin to tire because Keith Curle's blueprint for success seems to rely heavily on concentration levels and defensive discipline rather than any innate quality among those he has brought to the club.

The Magpies put in one of their better performances at home to Crawley last weekend but could only manage a point, stretching their winless home sequence to five games, and their inability to take control of matches at Meadow Lane is putting strain on them to maintain this fabulous away record.

Curle is convinced that the home wins will come but you can bet your bottom dollar that something will have been compromised on the road by the time they turn it around and that breaking point could arrive this weekend.

Betting advice...

2pts Scunthorpe to beat Notts County at 19/10 (Boylesports)
Iron have a renewed sense of purpose and County's great away record could be on the brink.

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