Laws: Clarets in a 'great position'
The Clarets made an impressive start to their first top-flight campaign in 33 years, but have won only once in the league since October and find themselves mired in a relegation dogfight with 12 games to go. Last weekend's 5-2 defeat to Aston Villa made it just one victory in Burnley's last 15 outings, but they are far from being cut adrift, with just three points separating them from 14th place. With rock-bottom Portsmouth the visitors to Turf Moor on Saturday, a win could send the Clarets shooting up the table and Laws believes that as a small club battling against the odds, his side could have the edge during the run-in over the likes of Bolton and Sunderland, upon whom the fear of relegation hangs heavy. "The pressure is not on us, it is on everyone else, the established teams who know that if they go out of this Premier League, financially they are going to be in trouble," Laws said. "They are going to have real serious issues to sort out, but we won't. Therefore we are not panicking about that. We are enjoying it and we are not feeling that kind of pressure. "In the end, maybe that is what will help us because if you are composed out there and not showing you are nervous, then you have a chance of winning games. That is where we can do a little bit of catching up. "We are in a great position. One win takes you up four places, that is how tight it is. We are enjoying it and the pressure is on everyone else." Given that Burnley were almost universally tipped for relegation at the start of the season, Laws feels the fact their fate is still in their own hands means things are looking positive. "I think everybody would have jumped at that (the current league standings) and said 'yes, definitely we'll take that because it means we are doing okay'," Laws said. "Everything is in our hands, we are not relying on anybody else and we know we are more than capable of doing it on our own. "So is it a must-win game (against Portsmouth)? No, we haven't got to that point. Must-win games means you are desperate and we are not at a desperate point. "We want to win it and winning the game would give us a huge lift, would move us significantly out of the bottom three and give us a basis to work from. "That is what we are attempting to do and something I believe we will do on Saturday." Portsmouth look set to become the first Premier League side to go into administration tomorrow, after owner Balram Chainrai admitted a new takeover at Fratton Park was unlikely before the end of the week and served notice of his intention to put the club into the hands of insolvency experts. Administration will stave off the threat of Pompey being wound up, but with the nine-point penalty it carries, it will virtually guarantee their relegation, leaving them on seven points with just 12 games remaining. It means Burnley could be facing a team on Saturday whose fate has already been sealed, but Laws - who was part of a Middlesbrough side that nearly went out of business in the mid-1980s - believes the opposition will show plenty of heart at Turf Moor regardless of their plight. "It doesn't matter what happens with the football club - they are professionals and I expect them to go out there and give everything, whatever the circumstances," Laws said. "I have been in that situation myself when I was a young player at Middlesbrough. Very uncomfortable that it was, I think it gelled the team well and everybody stuck together." Laws has Clarke Carlisle available for Saturday's game after scans revealed the defender did not break a toe against Villa, while Graham Alexander could be in contention for a return to action after a month out with a calf problem. Meanwhile, Laws has confirmed Ecuador international Fernando Guerrero, who has been told he can leave the club, may be allowed out on loan after reports linked the midfielder with a move to Middlesbrough.