It was heartening last weekend to see Mansfield Town end a week of speculation and off-the-field disruption by starting the season with a sparkling win on Saturday.
All the hopes raised by those pre-season displays against Championship clubs were realised as Mansfield dispatched Newport County with plenty to spare.
Despite the nasty business over the Sheffield Wednesday brawl, most things pre-season had been positive until the sudden speculation over strikers Danny Rose and Lee Angol.
The war of words between Stags and Peterborough United and Rose’s subsequent transfer request were unexpected and potentially distracting.
Then Angol looked set to join Grimby Town before failing to agree terms.
With Calum Butcher and Paul Anderson already up for sale, it leaves boss David Flitcroft unsure who he will have at his disposal for the coming weekend.
But once that window closes at 5pm tomorrow then the speculation ends and any or all of the four that remain will have to knuckle down and give their all for the cause.
But if they all go Flitcroft also needs to have last ditch replacements happy and ready to sign.
It is a precarious position as players and agents have a habit of having their heads turned at the last minute on deadline day and deals can suddenly vanish.
So, as always, it looks set to be a fascinating day for management and supporters alike and a real game of poker.
It is impossible to know how much Rose wants to leave or if it is something engineered by someone else.
But boss Flitcroft insisted this week that stories of any rift between him and the player who has scored goals for him at Barnsley and Bury were unfounded.
Certainly a fit and committed Rose pushing Tyler Walker and Craig Davies would be a huge boost for the club.
Reading between the lines in Flitcroft’s comments over Angol, it would seem he is less keen on the striker than he was early in the summer.
From his comments about the player’s body language it would see, Flitcroft is now agreeing with some Stags supporters that there is plenty more to be coaxed out of the gifted young striker.
Flitcroft had said he could see the potential there but seemed to suggest that, unlike the other players, he didn’t feel Angol had yet embraced the new way of doing things he had tried to implement over the summer and which had already paid such rich dividends with the displays against Championship sides pre-season and then destroyed Newport on Saturday.
If he stays, getting Angol ticking will be one of the manager’s big challenges.
With Butcher’s pre-season displays after being sent out on loan last season, and with the rich experience and versatility of positions for Anderson, both would be useful parts of the squad if they were also to stay.
But all four of these players or any potential replacement will have to work hard to get into the reckoning on Saturday’s showing.
Flitcroft’s men had a delighted home crowd on the edge of their seats with a reminder of the flowing, attacking football the manager thrilled them with when visiting with Swindon and Bury.
But maybe even more impressive was how determined Mansfield were to keep a clean sheet at the other end when Hayden White pulled off that fantastic goalline clearance near the end.