There's still time to save Scunthorpe United but change is needed, Iron fans suggest
Scunthorpe United manager Brian Laws was scathing in his assessment of the team during the 4-0 defeat at Doncaster Rovers last Saturday, labelling them as fragile and the second half display as lacking passion and commitment. Here fans Aiden McCartney, Max Bell, Tony Bickley, Dan Cox and Alan Brook - regular contributors to the Scunthorpe Telegraph's Terrace Talk column - offer their opinions on Laws' comments and where they think things are going wrong.
Q What did you make of the performance at Doncaster Rovers? How bad did it rank with what we've seen in other games?
DC: It was our biggest derby game of the season – I was never going to miss the game on Saturday. It's just a shame the players in the claret and blue shirts missed it! I don't think they realised what the match meant to us loyal supporters. As soon as Christian Ribeiro scored that own goal it seemed to drain the confidence from him and the rest of the players.
MB: The performance was up there with the worst I've ever seen from us under any manager.
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We were devoid of energy, fight, passion, creativity, invention, heart – and looked as rudderless as the Titanic. There wasn't a single player who stood up to be counted during the game – far too many would rather hide than show any mettle. Desperate stuff.
AM: The first half was a pretty tight affair, with two poor sides separated by a poor defensive mistake, but the second half was a complete humiliation. The goal straight after half-time killed us, but the way the team fell apart and offered so very little was embarrassing.
Q What do you make of the manager's comments saying the team lacked passion and desire?
MB: I completely and utterly agree, as did the close 1,200 fans who made the trip across to the Keepmoat. It tears your hair out as a fan watching not a single player stand up and be counted.
TB: I thought a new manager would instil a passion and a desire to impress among the players. It did, but only temporarily and the honeymoon period for Laws only lasted for three matches.
AB: This has been the case all season, especially defensively. Concede one goal and we are likely to quickly concede another as heads drop – especially if we go a goal down early in the game.
DC: The supporters often get criticised for not getting behind the team vocally enough. I agree at home it is far too quiet, but nobody can knock us away from home. As part of the 1,100 odd Scunny fans that were at the Keepmoat, we were singing our hearts out and could not get behind the lads anymore.
Q How worried are you for the future?
TB: Relegation has to be a real worry and the players need to understand that they need to show a real desire and grit to get out of this relegation dogfight.
DC: January is the defining month where the manager has to earn his wages and do some wheeling and dealing. I understand the money simply isn't there, which makes his job even harder, but he has to use his contacts in the game to literally beg for players, like he has already admitted. I am not saying he has to get rid of the starting XI, I believe we have some good players whose confidence is shattered but can be regained in time to rescue us from relegation.
MB: I am worried, but it's important not to take this defeat out of context. We have, at the minute, won as many league games under Laws as we have lost; with more encouraging performances than the reverse.
AB: We are showing the classic symptoms of a team that will be relegated; inconsistent form, fragile confidence, struggling at home, conceding goals for fun.
Q Where do the Iron go from here? What needs to change?
MB: I had previously believed, with the right man in charge and some motivation, the players Knill had brought to the club were good enough to be competitive in this division. Now I have real doubts to say the least.
AB: Brian and his team have got a big job on to arrest the slump. The first thing he needs to fix is to find a way to shore up a defence that is leaking far too many goals, especially from individual mistakes.
TB: Players who allow themselves to coast because they think their position is safe need to be shown the door come the transfer window. We need to bring in players who want to play for the Iron and show the desire and the commitment needed to survive in League One.
AM: We need to productively use the week off to build confidence in the players and head into the Bournemouth game with set tactics on how to win the game. It is fundamental that we sort our home form out and it really is a crucial game with the tricky Christmas period approaching.
Q What have you made of the standard of League One as a whole this season?
MB: To be blunt, I haven't known a poorer standard. But the fact we are the only side to have been beaten (and comfortably) by Hartlepool perhaps crystallises our woes at this minute. On the up side, at least this shows that it will take less quality than previous years to survive!
DC: Poor compared to previous seasons. That is what makes it even more frustrating to see us slumped in the relegation zone.
AB: The only two teams that have impressed me are Notts County and MK Dons. I don't think that any other teams are anything startling, it's just that we are playing like a team struggling at the bottom of League Two, which is where we are heading if we do not gain some momentum before the New Year. Home form is key.