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By ESPN Staff
Jan 13, 2010

Laws confident he can keep Clarets in top flight

Brian Laws is confident he can keep Burnley in the top flight following his surprise appointment as manager.

The former Clarets defender, sacked as boss of Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday just a month ago, has agreed a two-and-a-half year deal to succeed Owen Coyle at Turf Moor.

The 48-year-old is thought to have beaten off competition from Doncaster's Sean O'Driscoll to land his first Premier League job, although his arrival appears to have met with a lukewarm reaction from fans.

Laws told the club's website, ''I am sure there are a lot of Burnley fans asking, 'Why Brian Laws?' Well let me tell you, I have followed Burnley since I was 16 years old, when I joined the club.

''I have had an affinity with this club for a long time and I am really honoured to have the privilege of managing Burnley Football Club in the Premier League.

''This is a fantastic opportunity. Owen Coyle has done a fantastic job at this club. Nobody can ever take that away and I wouldn't want to even try. But at this moment in time he has dropped the baton and we want to pick it up with the supporters and drive on over the finishing line, which means we will have stayed in the Premier League.

''That is our drive and ambition and I will do everything in my power to achieve that because this great club is where it should be.''

He insists he is ready to prove to his worth to the Turf Moor faithful and show that he is the right man for the job.

"They (the Burnley board) believe they have made the right decision, and I do,'' Laws added. "I'm sure with the supporters time will tell but all I'm asking of them is support your team as you have been, continue to do what you are doing and we will do everything in our power to get it right on the pitch.

"Owen has done a terrific job and rightly should be looked at through the eyes of the supporters as a legend. He has done something that many managers have tried and been unsuccessful. Credit where credit is due and I know that the fans will support that and say he has done a brilliant job.

"I'm sure there will be one or two reserved that will be looking and watching what happens. All I can say to them is that they will get my full commitment. I'll work every hour possible to make sure it happens at this football club.

"Time will tell and I hope I do. Every club I've been to I've had a great affinity with the supporters. I appreciate what they're about and I hope they see that.''

Under Coyle Burnley have become renowned for their free-flowing football, an approach which has brought them a great deal of success but has also led to some heavy defeats on their travels this season.

With survival the priority for this campaign Laws acknowledged the Clarets' need to modify their strategy for away fixtures, but the new manager also stressed that the attacking style which has proved so popular with supporters would not be sacrificed.

"They do play expansive football and I have watched a few of the games,'' said Laws, whose first game at the helm will be a trip to Manchester United on Saturday. "Each approach (for away games) has got to be different, there is no doubt about that - you are playing different teams and they have different approaches.

"I think we just have to look at that and tinker with it. There is not a great transformation in what we are trying to achieve here - we are not saying we are going to make wholesale changes or that we are going to change the style of play.

"I just think we can tinker with it and sometimes fresh ideas will help support the players and give them license to express themselves but maybe be a bit tighter away from home.

"I like to play good football. There's good players here and they like to play football. It's a marriage made to work. I'm not going to be changing anything - there's no broken wheel here as far as I'm concerned. We'll add one or two bits but we want to tick over what Owen has done and just add a little bit more.''

Laws said that every player at the club would be starting with a "clean slate'' but admitted that he would have to assess his options quickly with almost half of the January transfer window having already passed.

"They (the current players) all want to play and all want to be part of it so I'm going to have a good look at that,'' Laws said. "Having said that, I've got to work quickly and maybe made some pretty hard decisions pretty quickly, because when we strengthen, we've only got a short window.''

Laws has been joined on the new coaching staff by Russ Wilcox, his assistant at Wednesday, and veteran Clarets midfielder Graham Alexander.

The club have also been linked with a move for Plymouth assistant manager John Carver, although Burnley would not confirm whether an approach had been made.

Chairman Barry Kilby insisted Laws was always the club's first choice for the job.

Kilby said: "He has been the first choice out of some really excellent candidates. We have been really impressed by his demeanour and his passion for Burnley Football Club.

"He stands out. Being an ex-player and having an affection for us helped as well. I think his record at Sheffield Wednesday, when you look at the budget Brian had to work with, was excellent as well. Burnley, being the size we are, we have to work within our budgets. It is an exact fit for us.''

Kilby admitted the club did speak to Doncaster manager Sean O'Driscoll but insists compensation was not an issue because a decision was made to appoint Laws.

He added: "It wasn't compensation, there were no stumbling blocks. We had several excellent candidates, of which Sean was one. It was simply Brian came out in front of the pack and is the one we have chosen to give this job to and I'm sure we'll have success.''

Laws has a tough task in following Coyle, who guided the Clarets back to the top flight after a 33-year absence.

Yet the former Republic of Ireland striker was also a surprise appointment just over two years ago and Kilby hopes the club's judgement pays off again.

He said: "They're all gambles. You never really know until you get out on that pitch. There are parallels from when we took Owen on and let's hope it is successful.''

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