Mansfield Town manager Steven Evans’ era is only five-games old, but the side’s recent revival continues promisingly under his tutelage.
The ex-Rotherham United and Leeds United boss, who has nine promotions to his name, replaced Adam Murray midway through November.
And the 54-year-old’s initial days at One Call Stadium have been quite exciting!
1) Early signal of intent
Evans was anointed as the Stags’ chief within days of Adam Murray’s departure; and the Scottish manager has swiftly brought about an upswing in form.
When Evans took charge, Mansfield were brushing shoulders with the relegation zone, having won just three games in 15 across all competitions.
The run also included a winless spell throughout September.
However, purely considering the win/draw/loss equation, he has put his best foot forward to deliver results and make the club’s fans dream big once more.
His five games in charge have led to three victories, one draw and a solitary defeat.
2) Proven tactical astuteness
Former manager Adam Murray did an outstanding job in his two-year stint at the club since 2014/15, when he staved off relegation in the first term and finished 12th in League Two in 2015/16.
However, the Stags’ legend saw curtains on his days in the managerial hot seat when the side’s overtly-defensive displays led to poor home form in the early part of this season, recording one win in 11 League games.
Since his appointment, Steve Evans’ line-ups have taken a pragmatic approach, with the biggest difference being a fresh sense of purpose and fluidity in their swagger.
Evans’ five games have yielded nine goals, two more than in the six matches the Stags played prior to his arrival.
At the other end, the new manager has had to field a second-string backline with a host of defenders sidelined with injuries.
Despite that, Mansfield have conceded eight goals in these five games, compared to 12 in the previous six.
3) Stags fans are warming up
Steve Evans has struck an emotional chord among the Mansfield Town supporters in his early days at the helm.
Speaking at his first press conference, he urged the fans to wholeheartedly join the bandwagon as he predicted a ‘roller-coaster’ at One Call Stadium.
One of the first requests from Evans was to move the dug-outs from the far end of the pitch to the front of the Ian Greaves Stand, so that he could be closer to the fans and enjoy the atmosphere in the stadium. The club have since complied with this request.
The official attendances at One Call Stadium in Evans’ three home games (including away fans) totalled 9,183, which surpassed the total gates from the three previous home fixtures – 7,932.
So, it is safe to say the Stags’ faithful are warming up to their new manager in full force.
4) The all-important question of transfers
It has been made evident from recent performances that Evans’ side will play a high intensity game.
With a plethora of talent in his armoury – the likes of Chris Clements, Malvind Benning, and Matt Green – the ex-Crawley Town manager will certainly look to build on it once the transfer window re-opens in January.
It seems necessary as well to add more vivacity and depth to the Stags’ current squad.
What the team needs now is someone in the mould of a ‘flare player’, who can bring the ‘wow’ factor back into the squad.
Evans’ men have looked goal-shy a few times so far. Thus, an industrious upfield player able to unlock the opposition defence effortlessly, and chip in with crucial goals, will certainly be a valuable recruitment.
5) Maintaining consistency
The Stags should look to carry forward the momentum from recent results into the Christmas period.
Next up for them is a tricky trip to Exeter.
The Grecians are unbeaten in their last three games, but reside below Mansfield in the table with three points separating the two sides.
Following that are two consecutive home games, which could be Evans’ best bet to wrap up the month strongly going into the New Year.
The Stags welcome fellow mid-table opponents Morecambe first, and then host promotion-chasers Doncaster, who are currently flying high in the top three.