David Mirfin continuing to push for first-team start, says Scunthorpe United boss Brian Laws
AFTER conceding just a wonder goal at Carlisle in a 1-1 draw, Scunthorpe United boss Brian Laws reserved special praise for his defence.
And he hopes with David Mirfin continuing to push for a first-team start the standard will continue to improve.
Despite coming through 90 minutes of a reserve game in midweek, Mirfin, who has been sidelined with a knee injury, was once again among the substitutes at Brunton Park, being brought on in the final few minutes in place of Andy Barcham.
Laws says the centre-back is doing his best to force his way into contention.
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"I think he's just about there with his fitness," the manager said. "He had 90 minutes against York in midweek, which will benefit him.
"I slotted him into midfield just because I thought they were trying to throw everything in the box and we had to deal with that.
"We're not the biggest side in the world and it was a case of just shutting shop for us and using a bit of experience. Mirf can do that for us.
"There's confidence there (in the defence) and with Mirfin coming back it puts pressure on the centre-halves; they don't want to miss out.
"Niall Canavan and Paul Reid have got a good understanding, however, Mirf's pushing so hard, and they know it.
"It will keep them on their toes and that's good for us."
Laws also singled out Tom Newey's contribution after the full-back set up Karl Hawley for United's opening goal.
"Tom Newey's been outstanding at right-back," he added. "Whilst he's recognised as a left-back, he's done a fantastic job for us and we're indebted to his performance because he got us the goal.
"It was a terrific run and he looked like he's been playing there for quite a few years."
Scunthorpe were forced to field something of an inexperienced bench against the Cumbrians, with Jamie Wootton and Hakeeb Adelakun amongst the squad.
Like Mirfin, Josh Walker (ankle) completed a full reserve match. However, he missed out at the weekend due to illness.
"Unfortunately he picked up a bug and couldn't be with us," said Laws.
"He'll be disappointed but that's the way things are.
"We've been very lucky that we haven't had too many who have been ill.
"He'll be back into the throw of things today, I'm sure.
"We had two young players on the bench, which is great for them to have the experience.
"We've also got to try to make sure we've got the experienced players on the bench to help us in those kind of conditions."