Despite the shock departure of skipper Nicky Hunt to League Two rivals Leyton Orient, manager Adam Murray managed to pull in a replacement in 23-year-old Swansea right back Dan Alfei.
Murray was also delighted to tie up a deal with Walsall to sign loanee midfielder James Baxendale on an 18-month contract.
“Obviously the Hunty one threw us a little bit,” said Murray. “It wasn’t expected or planned.
“Then it was about getting the right person in and in quick time.
“We were pleased with what we got as he is one that will benefit us here and now, but we believe there may be an opportunity to take him next season if he performs.
“If that is the case it gives us four months to work with him this season ready for next season.”
He added: “When we looked around for a replacement for Hunty there’s not much about in terms of right backs or just defenders in general that are ready-made.
“A lot of the ones that were available had got a few deficiencies. So we’ve gone for one that’s a bit younger but we feel has got the raw attributes that we can build on. I think he will be decent for us.”
Baxendale had played four games on his loan spell, scoring on his man of the match debut against Stevenage.
“We also managed to get the Baxendale one over the line for this season and next season. That was a major plus for us,” said Murray.
“We have seen bits and bobs of what he can do and I think he will be a very big player for the way we want to play.
“I don’t think we’ve got anything that is the same as him. He has got a lot of energy, he is technically very good, quick, and can create and score. So we are chuffed to get that one over the line.
“There were a couple of things that popped up with the deal from the Walsall end which nearly broke it down towards the end, but we managed to get it over the line.”
Stags managed to get a fee from Orient for 33-year-old Hunt and, although he was skipper, Murray said there were plenty of big characters in the dressing room who would ensure he wasn’t missed as much as some might think.
He explained: “From the outside everyone knows Nicky has played a lot of games, but he was never a very vocal leader. He wasn’t a shouter. With his experience he led by example.
“It will be a bit of a change-around but not as big a hole as some people from the outside may think as we have got a lot of big characters in that dressing room.”
Murray will be relieved that no one came knocking at the last minute for the likes of Ryan Tafazolli, Chris Clements and Jack Thomas.