Brian Laws says staying out of bottom four must now be the target for Scunthorpe United
BOSS Brian Laws hopes the confidence Scunthorpe United have gleaned from climbing out of the League One relegation zone will act as a catalyst to pulling clear of danger.
For the first time since the end of September the Iron are this weekend outside of the bottom four on the back of Saturday's 2-1 success at Colchester United.
Although a small step in their long-term ambitions of avoiding relegation, mentally the significance of what their manager described as a 'huge win' should not be understated.
But Laws is keen for decorum - and for Scunthorpe to bring the likes of Oldham Athletic, Carlisle United and Shrewsbury Town, the sides directly above them in the table, back into the relegation battle.
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"It goes without saying that confidence is always bred from results," said Laws after his side's win at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, which means the Iron have done the double over the U's this term.
"Even more important is the fact that the players can see themselves out of the bottom four for the first time in quite a long time.
"But there's no point getting carried away or thinking 'happy days, we've done it'. We've achieved our goal of getting out of the bottom four, but now we've got to stay out of it.
"If we do that, it will add pressure to other teams.
"As long as we stay steady and work as hard as we did today, more results are around the corner."
Scunthorpe were at their best and worst in Essex, scoring two good goals - the first of which was a screamer from Jimmy Ryan - but also gifting the home side possession in the build up to Freddie Sears' strike which got the U's back in the game in the 59th minute.
Despite putting United under pressure in the aftermath of that goal, Scunthorpe ground out their fifth away victory of the campaign.
It was the manner of the victory with which Laws seemed most pleased.
"At times we were very, very good, other times we were sloppy," he admitted.
"But in general play it was a hard-fought result, one I thought we deserved in the end.
"The first goal in any game, but particularly one of this magnitude, is vital. It was an exceptional strike from Jimmy - no doubt about it.
"Generally, if you can get that first goal, you've got an 80 per cent chance of winning the game.
"The start of the second half was also vital. Getting that early goal shut them down pretty quick.
"It was a great ball up to (Akpo) Sodje, who used his power and strength and didn't allow the two centre halves, who were giants, to have an influence. He won the header and Karl Hawley finished his chance exceptionally.
"But we always know there's a goal around the corner if you're sloppy and give the ball away cheaply.
"Barch (winger Andy Barcham) gave it away cheaply and it ended up in the back of our net.
"When the scoreline is 2-1, everybody gets nervy.
"Colchester were throwing everything at us and we had to defend in numbers - that's when the game becomes even more scrappy.
"But we dug in, which is the important thing. The players have shown they have the mentality to do that."
Opposite number Joe Dunne vowed to consider his position after the game, which was a club-record ninth successive loss for the U's.
"I know what I want to try and do at the club but I love this club too much to see it suffer the way that it is at the moment," he said.
"I love the club a lot and I want to keep fighting but I know I need to assess all of the solutions. If part of the problem is me then I'll always be honest enough to say, what can I do?"
Dunne has only been in charge of Colchester since September, when John Ward was fired after the U's lost 1-0 to the Iron at Glanford Park.