THE success of Leon Cort and Danny Fox could decide whether Burnley are better off with Brian Laws’ January signings or those that Owen Coyle would have brought to Turf Moor.

It is not hard to predict the players Coyle would have signed, because they have just joined Bolton.

The timing of Coyle’s forever infamous switch to Bolton meant the Scot had most of his January plans already in place.

So once Coyle had given his targets directions for Euxton rather than Gawthorpe, and made sure that the slow-witted among them didn’t end up at a train station in London, his job was done.

Far from requiring the skills of Derren Brown, even Septic Peg – the Brian Conley character who once told us that the week’s National Lottery would be won by ‘a man… or a woman’ – could have worked this one out.

It is likely that midfielders Jack Wilshere and Stuart Holden would have been Burnley players now.

Bolton’s third signing, Manchester City winger Vladimir Weiss, was never confirmed as a Coyle target at Turf Moor but links had been made.

A call to Weiss’ agent in Slovakia in November met with a cautious, but not entirely dismissive, response to the reports. Permission from City seemed to be the sticking point at that stage.

Coyle would have tied up the loan extension of David Nugent, too, just as Laws has done. But that may have been it.

Despite the bigger budget at Bolton, something that seemed to play a part in his move, Coyle spent precisely zero in transfer fees during January.

Wilshere and Weiss were loans, Holden a free agent. It is thought Coyle chose to wait until the summer before spending the money available to him.

Whether he would have felt more inclined to sign defenders had he still been at Burnley, we will never know.

But the fact that David Edgar, Richard Eckersley and Brian Easton had been signed during the summer but were still waiting in the wings for their chance suggests possibly not.

Laws has brought in Cort and Fox for more than £3m. It is unclear whether that money would have been available to Coyle, or whether more was found to give the new manager an opportunity to bring in his own players.

Jack Cork, Nicky Weaver and Frederic Nimani have also arrived, but the two defenders appear the key to Burnley’s hopes of surviving a relegation battle they were destined for, no matter who was in charge.

Providing the Clarets’ attacking abilities can be retained – and the return from injury of Chris McCann and Martin Paterson should help – then it is a defensive solidity, particularly away from home, that could garner points.

The first gauge will come at home to West Ham on Saturday.

It was a 5-3 defeat at Upton Park in November that set alarm bells started ringing louder than ever.

Conceding five at Tottenham is one thing, doing so at struggling West Ham is quite another.

Saturday’s result could be one of the most pivotal of the season for Burnley.

Septic Peg predicts a win … or a defeat … or a draw.

* Has Laws or Coyle done the better business in January? Have your say by using the comment facility below.