Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans can see a lot of parallels between his side and Saturday’s visitors Swindon Town, who seem to finally be finding their feet at League Two level.
Like Mansfield, the relegated Robins brought in many new faces in the summer and are starting to gel with three wins in their last five games and below the Stags only on goal difference.
“Swindon have probably signed about as many as us. They are good players which always gives you a chance of winning a game,” said Evans.
“It’s a new group and what happens with a new group? It gets better as it goes along. It’s not a surprise.
“They have a good manager and they’re a good club with a really good chairman and supporters who will travel here in good numbers and get behind the team.
“It just presents us with another opportunity to play against what has to be said is one of the top sides. This is an ex-Premier League club.”
Evans added: “They’ll come here with a passing style, but they’ll go direct when they have to.
“They like to get the ball down and play but when they need to go forward early, and in certain games we’ve seen that, then they’ll do it.
“They are technically decent and they’ll be relaxed in their approach. They will be coming here to take our coal.”
Stags were beaten 2-0 at Colchester last Saturday and some fans vented their anger at the end. But Evans said: “The boys are in good spirits.
“It was my job to make sure we didn’t go overboard when we beat Notts County and it’s my job to make sure that after Colchester we come back on the training ground and get focused towards Swindon Town.
“There is a lot of travelling ahead next week. It will be a late night back from Barnet on Tuesday and then we are away again to face Newport. But my only focus is Swindon.
“Let’s get three points on the board and anything you get on the road is a bonus. If we average two points from the next seven or eight games I will be buzzing as we’ll be in the top group.”
Stags are just two points off the play-off places and Evans said: “We have almost averaged two points a game in the last seven games, and it’s not enough.
“Two points average takes you to promotion but we are a long way short of the consistency levels we need to achieve if we want to be in that top group at the end.
“Anyone who builds a new team knows you can’t just put 14 or 15 new faces together out of a squad of 22/23 and just see it work immediately. It takes time. People find places in the team at different intervals.
“We are not experimenting, but we are still finding out at times what type of players can play what type of games.
“You hear the top managers talk about certain players for certain games. It’s not as bad as that in the lower leagues but there is certainly an element of when big games come, big players step up.
“We have signed 15 new players. But people forget we had 16 that left. They keep thinking we’ve added 15 to the rest and there are 42 players here!”