A few days it seemed very unlikely that Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox would be sat at One Call Stadium with estranged assistant boss Adam Murray looking towards Saturday’s FA Cup second round tie at Oldham Athletic.
But football can be a strange old game and suddenly the two men are reconciled and reunited and looking forward again.
Murray has been Cox’s on-field skipper and general for two successful seasons before the pair fell out earlier this season.
Since then Murray has been out on loan to Rainworth WM and Worksop Town before their latest attempts to iron out their differences finally paid dividends this week.
Murray returns to the stadium in the same week as former assistant manager Micky Moore came back as first team coach as Cox tries to end a run of six straight defeats in League Two.
“It has all happened very quickly, but they are two good additions that I am pleased with and hopefully will give us that little jolt we need at this moment,” said Cox.
“I got a text off Muzza asking to come in and have a chat. We had a chat and the outcome was positive.
“He is going to come in and wants to get his head down, work hard, get in the side and help us through this blip.
“It is all about the bigger picture for Mansfield Town Football Club. No one is bigger than the football club -manager or player.
“Whatever has gone on in the past, I have left it there.
“I could probably do with 11 Adam Murrays out there at the moment! Joking apart, everyone knows what qualities he brings to the side.
“We will monitor his form this week. He is doing a few extra sessions and we will see if he is up to scratch.”
Cox said it was too early to talk about Murray’s previous positions as assistant manager and captain.
He explained: “First and foremost Adam wants to come in and work hard as a player and get into the side. We can talk about armbands and roles in a few weeks when we have a few games under our belts.
“He is in contention for Saturday like everyone else. But I don’t want to throw Adam back in if he’s not right, though.
“We have worked together for two and a half years and he will be honest with me and tell me if he is not right to come in.
“We will both make an honest decision on the state of affairs and if he can add something to the squad.”
On their disagreements, Cox added: “Anyone who knows me and knows Adam knows we both wear our hearts on our sleeves and are both stubborn so and so’s. It has been an experience for both of us, that’s how I see it. I don’t bear grudges and I know he doesn’t.
“If people want to come in here and work hard and do the job, that’s brilliant and I will work with them. What’s in the past is in the past.”
Murray agreed: “The industry we are in is a strange business. I have come to learn over the last 15-16 years that anything is possible and it’s been a strange few months. But we move on and, hopefully, move forward.
“Obviously a couple of issues needed to be ironed out. We have done that.
“We have had some really positive meetings this week and we are now laughing and giggling again and we are back on the same page to move forward. The most important thing is the football club and getting points on the board.
“We have had a really good relationship for the last couple of years and I don’t think anyone can argue we’ve been successful. The bottom line is we can achieve together – we have proved that.”
Murray agreed it was too early to be defining roles and said he hadn’t missed out on any of Stags’ fortunes.
“I am just happy to be back in the building at the moment,” he smiled. “I have been away, but I have seen a few games and watched a few DVDs so I don’t think there is anything that will surprise me.
“I just need to gauge where I am, get my head down and see what I can do to help this group of players with my experience and qualities.
“It has been a tough time and we are not used to losing football matches and being at the wrong end of the table.
“But if I am honest, I am not worried about it as I know we have enough quality here to be back in and around at the end of the season. We have some very talented young lads here and I hope I can help them a bit and push their potential and focus in the right direction.”
This is the third year on the trot that Stags have struggled at this time of season only to see it all come good in the end.
He said: “It is like playing a video back of the last two seasons. But I know that when we are all pulling in the same direction here, as a football club we are a powerful force.
“It is good to see Micky back, too. He has the tools to help the group. He is a big piece of the jigsaw. He is excellent at what he does.
“I like to think I have always had a good relationship with the fans here. They know I give my heart and soul for them. I know I have had a fair bit of support recently so it is now up to me not to let them down when I come back into the fold.
“I don’t know about Saturday yet. I have been doing double and triple sessions and I am feeling good and sharp. I feel like a caged animal. But I must make sure I am right for the club and myself.
“It is important to know your inner self. I have always stood by my beliefs. I am a proud man. But I have kept my head and kept my focus. At the other clubs, I have met and worked with some good people and seen the other side of the game. But I am very happy to be back.”