With two thirds of the season still to come, Mansfield Town look to have largely finally got things right in good time after a superb October.
Three wins and a draw from their five League Two games have lifted the Stags away from the wrong end of the table and they now sit 10 points from top spot and 10 points from the bottom, so they could hardly be more mid-table if they tried.
A switch to 4-4-2 has been key and Stags now need to push on from this excellent platform.
Two successive home games give them a great chance to do that, though Saturday’s visitors Colchester United are a tough proposition and are expected to be in there in the final reckoning.
So beating them would send out a strong message and build confidence ahead of the FA Cup weekend break from league action when an in-form Mansfield are expected to see off National League strugglers Chorley.
If skipper Krystian Pearce misses out this weekend with a groin injury, it will be fascinating to see how Matt Preston and Ryan Sweeney do together.
Pearce has been a talisman for the Stags in recent seasons, but has recently made several uncharacteristic mistakes.
So to sit it out with an injury and possibly have to force his way back in if the Preston/Sweeney combination does well, may be the very thing he needed, being generally one of the first names on a team sheet for Mansfield.
Otherwise, injuries are clearing up quickly and boss John Dempster could head into a busy November/December with a fully fit squad.
Belief is clearly starting to grow in the stands with Stags maintaining good home crowds and taking a noisy army of almost 900 away fans to Walsall last weekend, which made such a huge difference.
It has been a frustrating first third of the season, but after two years of failure and a new boss trying to implement new ideas to take it forwards – and inevitably making mistakes along the way – it perhaps wasn’t a great surprise they didn’t storm straight to the top of the table.
But Stags have started to blossom and results are following.
It’s been good to see Andy Cook and Nicky Maynard starting to help fellow striker and top scorer Danny Rose in chipping in with goals.
But more significant was Alex MacDonald’s winner at Walsall – the first time an out-and-out midfielder has scored for the club so far this campaign.
Serious competition for Pearce, goals from elsewhere on the field joining those from three lethal strikers and the confidence taken from a string of good results all bode well for the club’s continued progress up the table.