New Stags manager Steve Evans quickly saw the irony of the Checkatrade Trophy draw against League One Oldham Athletic – a club he came so close to taking over in the summer.
But Evans is hoping the homework he did then will stand Mansfield in good stead to progress to round four.
“We are very aware of what Oldham have assembled,” he said.
“Obviously I had the opportunity to join them back in the summer and I still keep in touch with the chairman probably three or four times a week – we message and speak to each other.
“I don’t think either of us thought it would be great if we meet each other (in the Trophy), but we are looking forward to it.
“I know how tough it is to go to Oldham and get a result - it’s extremely tough.
“One of the things about Oldham and one of the reasons I considered joining them is their supporters are much like here, same as Rotherham and Leeds fans, salt of the earth and say it as it is. It was an attraction.
“It is an opportunity for both clubs to take another step nearer what is ultimately a dream day. But you have to have a lot of other days that some people don’t want to know about to achieve that dream.”
Evans is still unsure why he didn’t take the job, but just trusted and followed his instincts.
“I just changed my mind,” he said. “Something didn’t feel right, I don’t know what it was.
“The chairman is terrific. I was talking to John Radford about Simon Corney last night - I met him on a number of occasions. “They are good people and I went round the place two or three times.
“I just woke up on the day it was due to be happening later that day and it just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t go into any football club if it just didn’t feel right.
“He accepted my explanation at the time and I said it may be in the future as the one thing I did respect was the football club.”
He added: “I have always been so committed to any club or project I joined it just has to ultimately feel right before you agree to do it. I have heard too many managers say they are taking a job as a stepping stone - well don’t take the job.
“You should never do that. You have to take the job and believe what you are going into.”