Bournemouth Cherries show what can be done with a bit of confidence, says Scunthorpe United manager Brian Laws
THEY are League One's form team. A side Scunthorpe United manager Brian Laws considers 'real contenders' for automatic promotion.
As well as being a side packed with ability, Laws says Bournemouth provide the perfect example of what can be achieved with a bit of confidence – the biggest factor he is keen to instil into the Iron dressing room.
Two months ago, the Cherries were on the same number of points as Scunthorpe, languishing in the bottom four.
Nine games, and no defeats, later they arrive at Glanford Park on Saturday just five points shy of the top six, having begun to score goals and playan exciting brand of attacking football.
It is the moniker of what Laws wants to see happen at Scunthorpe, where the mood and morale has for so long been as low as their league position.
"Bournemouth are a confident team – from the back right the way through to the front – they're where we want to be, there's no question about that," said the Iron manager, fresh from a trip to Carlisle United last weekend, where the Cherries romped to a 3-1 FA Cup second round success.
"They had good players at the start of the season, they just didn't gel. But to get where they are now, they haven't changed a great deal.
"They didn't start the season well, hence why the manager lost his job, but once they've got on a run, they've proved they are the real deal.
"I believe Bournemouth will be real contenders for automatic promotion. They are on that kind of a run.
"But it's down to the opposition to stop them as well, not to lie down and let them have the points.
"Whilst they are good going forward, there's always a weakness somewhere. We've got to identify that and make it count."
Without a game last weekend on the back of their first round exit in the FA Cup, Scunthorpe have used the past fortnight to work on players' mindsets as much as tactics.
Laws says the process has been 'very rewarding' and that players have taken on board the need to improve communication between themselves and the management team.
The Iron boss hopes evidence of team building will show in the game against the Cherries, against whom a victory could lift the club out of the bottom four for the first time since September.
"We're one win away (from getting out of the relegation zone)," he reiterated.
"There's a lot of people looking over their shoulders, some even from halfway down, because they're not in great form themselves.
"They know if they lose two games they could get dragged in, likewise if we win two on the bounce we could be out of it.
"We built the gap back up a couple of weeks ago to the point where we now need that next lift.
"Once we get over that next wall, I strongly feel we'll stay over the other side. It's getting that lift to get over there and that comes from the players as much as anybody else.
"They have to believe they are capable of doing it.
"I think there's far worse teams than Scunthorpe United in this division.
"I think we're a good side when everybody is at it and we're not having to carry anybody.
"We will approach every game with that mentality."