Scunthorpe United boss Brian Laws plotting defeat of Hartlepool United - a club he might have joined
TIMING in football is everything, according to Brian Laws.
It is certainly the intervention that means the Scunthorpe United manager will turn right, rather than left, as he heads out of the Glanford Park tunnel on Saturday.
Bizarrely, Laws has spent this week plotting the downfall of the club whose survival mission he was almost chosen to spearhead.
Looking to secure a job in English football, having got his 'manager's head back on' during a spell in the Eircom League of Ireland with Shamrock Rovers, the 51-year-old was speaking to Hartlepool United about becoming boss at Victoria Park, when he took a phone call from another League One chairman at the end of October.
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The chance to work again with Steve Wharton, albeit at least only until he steps down from his role at the end of the season, at the club for which an affinity will always be present, he says, was a 'no brainer'.
"I'd been speaking to Hartlepool on a regular basis and I'd planned to have talks with them about the job," Laws told the Telegraph, ahead of Pools' visit to Glanford Park.
"Call it whatever you like, football is all about timing.
"The decision that I made, I think, was the right one. I'm enjoying it here.
"It's the same job here as it would have been at Hartlepool, trying to keep the club afloat and make sure they stay in the division.
"We're in a stronger position and a better position than Hartlepool. I'm sure they would swap places with us if they could."
Scunthorpe have won seven and lost eight of Laws' 19 games back in the Glanford Park hotseat. That progress must continue if the Iron are to keep their heads above the bottom four.
Laws is grateful to United for giving him the chance to return to English football, almost two years after he had been shown the door by Championship side Burnley.
"It's strange. When I was out of work, things were very quiet. When you're in work, all of a sudden the phone keeps ringing," continued the United boss, who said he was mulling over three offers when he agreed to come back to Glanford Park for 'as long as is necessary'.
"My spell in Ireland really helped in that sense. I got my manager's head back on and my coaching voice back.
"That gave me the chance to come back here and hit the ground running.
"Everything else is history now. I'm enjoying it and I've got great belief in this place.
"I think the supporters realise they've got somebody in charge who cares about the football club immensely and wants the club to do well."
Laws' influence has helped Scunthorpe to three successive victories at Glanford Park – more than they had managed in the previous five months.
On Saturday, they face a Pools side who have also picked up under the management of John Hughes, the former Livingston and Falkirk boss who eventually succeeded Neale Cooper.
They are unbeaten in five games and last week came from behind with only two minutes to play to beat Leyton Orient.
Laws predicts Hartlepool will be buoyant. But he is keen to stress they are beatable, providing Scunthorpe produce the sort of work ethic and determination present in those home wins against Portsmouth, Crawley Town and Carlisle United.
"Hartlepool were too good a side to never win a game or not put a run together," added the United manager.
"Whether it will be enough to get them out of trouble, I don't know. It's going to be a massive ask for them to stay in this division.
"Many people have given up on Hartlepool – probably even some of their supporters.
"The last few weeks will maybe have changed their mindset a wee bit and that's what we've got to be very careful of.
"We're presented with the opportunity to win four home games on the trot, but Hartlepool will have a big say in what happens.
"They're not going to lie down – they're desperate for wins as much as we are."
Saturday's meeting between two sides battling relegation seems destined to have been a match to contain Laws' involvement.
It is Scunthorpe, though, who must hope he can have an influence.