Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans believes new Hartlepool United manager Dave Jones has quickly rejuvenated the players at his struggling club and expects a tough game at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.
The vastly experienced Jones joined Hartlepool last month to rescue them from the wrong end of the table and has made a quick impact.
But Pools arrive at the One Call Stadium to face a Stags side seven League games unbeaten and about to play the first of two home games in four days that could push them up into the top seven for the first time.
“I think they will come here and have a go,” said Evans.
“I’ve know Dave Jones a long time and I don’t think they will come and be adventurous from 3pm, but I think they will be adventurous over an hour and a half and I think they’ll try to win the game.
“They have nothing to lose in that they are coming to play a form team and they’ve been struggling a bit for form themselves.
“The most notable thing is the difference in class of the performances prior to Dave Jones and with Dave Jones. It is considerable when you look at the evidence.
“We expect him to have rejuvenated six or seven players who, in all honesty, had gone off the boil a bit but now look like they are back on their mettle.”
Evans said he had huge respect for Jones and the way he had treated the Stags manager in past encounters.
“He is the most experienced manager you could imagine in League Two,” said Evans.
“I thought he did a wonderful job at Sheffield Wednesday but obviously lost his job when the big investment came in.
“He is someone when I was back at Rotherham in League Two and League One, who was very courteous and very kind to me and helped me and you never forget.
“The one thing we do know is Hartlepool will come here on Saturday and be organised and efficient, led by a manager who knows this game inside out.”
He added: “But we are desperate for a win as we’ve not won since last Saturday. Winning becomes like a drug and the dressing room we are evolving will start to find that out.
“We have two games at home in four days that could have a real impact, not only inside the camp but also with league positions, and all we can do is focus on ourselves.”
Former Stags winger Nathan Thomas came through a reserve game against Stags’ youngsters in midweek and could be thrown back in after injury.
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” said Evans.
“But it’s never going to be about what Hartlepool do on Saturday. It’s just about what we do individually and collectively. We will be the difference whether we win on Saturday.”
The weather forecast is for an icy cold weekend, but Evans added: “The covers are on and our groundstaff will be working round the clock to make sure we are good to go.”