Victories, and even goals, were proving hard to come by when Macclesfield Town turned to Sol Campbell to take over as manager of a side that looked set to drop straight back down to the National League after promotion.
But, ahead of Saturday’s game at Mansfield Town, the former England defender has had a huge impact with four wins and two draws from 10 League Two matches.
With Andy Cole drafted in as strikers’ coach on a part-time basis, results have taken a dramatic upturn and, though they missed the chance to climb out of the relegation zone at Cheltenham on Saturday, there is a real belief returning to the Moss Rose.
Promotion under John Askey gave Macc a route back to League Two after six years in non-League football.
But Askey’s departure for Shrewsbury amid rumours of tensions between him and chairman Mark Blower, left many supporters admitting they would be happy to finish in 22nd spot and avoid dropping back into the National League.
Under Askey’s successor Mark Yates, the Silkmen suffered a disastrous start to the season, one that saw Yates sacked in November.
Macc were in danger of being cast adrift at the bottom of the table and with just one league win to their name.
The man currently making Macc tick is Michael Rose, who plays in the centre of midfield and has also assumed the role of dead-ball deliverer, to great effect.
The former Rochdale and Stockport defender has a fierce tackle in his armoury, and six goals to his name.
A compliment to him is that veteran, and acting first-team coach, Danny Whitaker is not being risked as he looks to shake off a minor injury.
Striker Harry Smith is believed to be a potential target this month for clubs higher up the divisions.
At 6ft 5in he poses a threat when Rose delivers dead balls into the area and effectively brings others into the attacks when Macc are building from the back.
The Silkmen will now have big centre half Nathan Cameron available on Saturday after overturning last weekend’s red card on appeal.
The ex-Bury man, who was on trial with Stags in the summer until he suffered an injury, has impressed since joining on a short-term deal, which he has now extended.
Injury-wise, playmaker Elliott Durrell is unlikely to return after knee surgery.
The winger has missed most of the season and Campbell would love to have him back soon to provide full-backs and goalkeepers with a series of headaches.
Fellow midfielder Ryan Lloyd, another to sit out that dire start to the season, is also currently out through injury.