BURNLEY chairman Barry Kilby has stuck to his guns and given his backing to boss Brian Laws, despite facing initial opposition from board members.

Clarets chiefs met at Turf Moor on Monday night to discuss the next step following relegation after just one season in the Premier League, with the majority understood to be in favour of starting the search for a new manager straight away.

But Kilby is staunchly behind giving Laws a chance in the Championship, where the 48-year-old has managed more than 200 games with Sheffield Wednesday, and has seemingly persuaded directors to support his stance as the club makes plans for another promotion assault.

After the Lancashire Telegraph yesterday revealed the boardroom split, the club issued a statement that read: “The Burnley Football Club board of directors wish to make it clear that Brian Laws’ position as first team manager is not under threat.

“Laws this morning (Wednesday) met with club chairman Barry Kilby and operational director Brendan Flood to plan next season’s player recruitment and budget, with a view to giving the club the best chance of returning to the Premier League.

“Brian Laws has two years remaning on the contract he signed in January 2010.

“Burnley Football Club will make no further comment on this matter.”

When Laws was appointed as Owen Coyle’s successor in January he was deemed the stand-out choice of all 20 candidates by Kilby and operational director Brendan Flood.

The former Burnley and Nottingham Forest full-back - a scholar of the legendary Brian Clough - had just less than three weeks to assess the squad and strengthen for their survival mission before the transfer window closed.

Laws spent £1.5million on experienced defender Leon Cort, and brought in left back Danny Fox from Celtic for an undisclosed fee, thought to be £1.8m.

He also retained the services of loan striker David Nugent, and signed young Chelsea midfielder Jack Cork on loan until the end of the season.

But after inheriting a side that hadn’t won for nine Premier League games, was losing momentum and had the heart ripped out of it when Coyle quit for Bolton Wanderers and took his backroom staff with him, their poor run wasn’t arrested until Laws’ fifth game in charge, including an FA Cup exit at the hands of Reading, who were then bottom of the Championship.

His future came under increasing scrutiny as Burnley slipped into the relegation zone, and never looked like escaping.

And I understand that after suffering heavy back-to-back home defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool - 6-1 and 4-0 respectively - the board were ready to dismiss him this week.

The visit of Spurs on the final day of the season seemed set to be his last game in charge, yet Laws continued to remain defiant and determined to bring the good times back to Turf Moor again.

Turning around a 2-0 deficit to win 4-2 appears to have earned him a stay of execution, but a poor start to next season would put him under immediate pressure.