Burnley go for old boy Laws
Former Clarets player the shock choice to replace Coyle after getting Wednesday sack
Wednesday 13 January 2010
Exactly a month after being sacked by relegation-threatened Championship club Sheffield Wednesday, Brian Laws looks set to be given a first opportunity to manage in the Premier League and his appointment as the new manager of Burnley is likely to be confirmed today.
Along with the Doncaster Rovers manager, Sean O'Driscoll, Laws, 48, was interviewed by the Turf Moor club for a second time yesterday and although his track record has hardly excited the club's fans, who are still mourning the departure of Owen Coyle to Bolton, he impressed Burnley's hierarchy greatly.
Doncaster had accepted that O'Driscoll would be willing to leave and were considering their alternatives, as well as demanding £1m in compensation, which was just £500,000 less than Burnley received from Bolton for Coyle.
Although O'Driscoll looked the strong favourite for much of yesterday, it now seems as if Laws will be given the opportunity to keep Burnley in the Premier League and admitted that he was attracted by the vacancy. "Of course it would interest me," he said. "I have a great affinity with Burnley, but there's no more I can say on that."
Laws started his career as a player at Burnley and played for them 181 times, scoring 15 goals, before leaving in 1983 and going on to enjoy notable success at Nottingham Forest. As a manager he has worked almost constantly since taking over at Grimsby in 1994 and had a successful spell with Scunthorpe before moving to Sheffield Wednesday in 2006.
At Hillsborough, Laws was forced to work with a rapidly reducing budget but paid the price for a poor run of results in the Championship by losing his job after just more than three years in charge on 13 December, but he has profited from the departure of Coyle for Bolton to earn a first crack at the Premier League.
He arrives at Turf Moor with Burnley sitting 14th in the table but the Clarets, who are in the top flight for the first time in 33 years, have not won a game in the league since October ahead of Saturday's trip to Manchester United.
Transfer money is likely to be in short supply to add to a squad that is rather thin, although at least the new manager can be comfortable in the knowledge that by the terms of his departure Coyle is unable to move for any Burnley players until the summer.
Ironically, Laws spent much of the summer fighting with Burnley over the newly-promoted side's interest in Marcus Tudgay, eventually persuading the forward to sign a contract extension at Hillsborough.
After it became clear that Coyle wanted to leave for the Reebok Stadium 10 days ago, Burnley began by considering a host of up-and-coming managers from the lower leagues as potential replacements for the Scot. They were known to be interested in Simon Grayson but the Leeds manager is confident of guiding them back into the Championship and could not be persuaded to make the move.
They also considered Swansea's Paulo Sousa, Huddersfield's Lee Clark and the Norwich manager Paul Lambert but a thinning field left them with a straight choice between Laws and O'Driscoll.
Born 1961 in Wallsend
Previous jobs Grimsby Town (1994-96), Scunthorpe United (1997-2004), Scunthorpe United (2004-06), Sheffield Wednesday (2006-09).
Achievements Led Scunthorpe to promotion in 1999 and 2005.
As a player Began career at Burnley in 1979. Played 181 times for the club.
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