By Tony Leighton
Six years after leaving Scunthorpe United, manager Brian Laws has made an explosive return, though either side of Bonfire Night the fireworks have blazed away both for and against him as the Iron firstly suffered a 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Gillingham and then on Tuesday evening ran up an unexpected 4-1 npower League 1 victory at Walsall.
Laws said that "there weren't any surprises" for him about Saturday's loss for what he described as his "fragile" team, who had collected a meagre two points from their seven League matches ahead of the Cup trip to the npower League 2 leaders.
And even after Tuesday's morale-boosting victory, the former Grimsby Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley manager, who last week left Irish club Shamrock Rovers to take over from the departed Alan Knill at Glanford Park, was cautious in his summation of the club's situation as they are still stuck in the relegation zone.
"I'm delighted with the start we made in the League," he said, "because the most important thing for us is to start winning some games. It's been a long time coming, but it's only a small step and none of us are getting carried away.
"I walked into the dressing room after the [Walsall] game and it was like a graveyard. I said 'smile, you've just won a game,' and a couple of the lads chipped back saying 'we've forgotten how to smile'. That just shows you how deep it has been within the group, so this win might bring a little portion of the belief and confidence back."
With only three League wins Scunthorpe are third-bottom, but Laws insisted: "We're not a bottom-four side, but when you lose a little bit of belief - and unfortunately the players have been in the habit of losing games - it doesn't matter who you are, if you've got that habit it's a negative and you don't play as well.
"When you're on top of your game and you've got good players - which we have - that's what they're capable of [beating Walsall 4-1]. But it's about the consistency side and the test will be, can we continue that into the next game?"
The next game for Laws' team is against Coventry City and the manager will be looking to build on Tuesday's success to hopefully start a run that can carry Scunthorpe to safety and perhaps set them up for happier days ahead.
Laws twice led the Iron to promotion during his previous nine-year spell at Glanford Park, and he will now be doing his utmost to bring back the feel-good factor that those promotions brought to Scunthorpe.
"There's an affinity I've had with this football club over the years," he said. "I live in the town, I'm settled here and so I was hurting just as much as the supporters to see where we are because I think that we're underachieving.
"I've watched a lot of DVDs of the side and they've been playing a very open game, playing a style of football that is pleasing on the eye but unfortunately there was never any danger, they never created enough to win games.
"We've just changed them to be a bit tighter and play football in the opposition's half, not our half, and I think that's the difference. They've listened to what we've said, taken it on board and let's hope we continue."
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