OPINION: Evans putting jigsaw puzzle pieces in place
Jigsaw puzzles are not always easy to complete in just a few sessions. Sometimes it takes longer to see the whole picture, to sort out the edge pieces from the rest, and to gradually fill in the gaps.
Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans has vast experience of putting together jigsaws over a successful career in the Football League - and he knows that the amber and blue puzzle cannot be solved overnight.
When you throw in 14 new pieces, it takes time to sort out where they all fit - and that is what Evans is doing right now.
Saturday’s terrific performance in the 2-2 home draw over early-season pacesetters Luton, who hit eight on the opening day of the season, showed that Evans is getting there.
And if Jimmy Spencer had not seen his poor penalty deep into injury-time saved, the victory would have been a just reward for a dominant performance.
But after conceding two late goals, Evans will know that his side must stop that bad habit after it also proved costly at Accrington the previous week.
Perhaps, at the moment, that is the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle that he needs to find.
The passionate Evans, however, is doing his best to make sure sure that all the pieces will hopefully be in place for his jigsaw at the One Call Stadium to be successfully completed by next May — when promotion to League One is clearly the ambition of the manager, owner and fans.
Last week’s deal to bring in experienced striker Kane Hemmings on loan from Oxford — yet another new face to come to the Stags with experience of playing at a higher level than League Two — showed how Evans believes his Stags’ squad is still a work in progress,
As did his revelation that he is still looking to add an attacking midfielder to the ranks before the transfer window shuts this coming week — and the fact that he made five changes for Saturday’s match, four of them through choice.
The addition of Hemmings highlighted the perseverance of the manager to do everything he can to win promotion. If reports are to be believed, Evans finally got the proven goalscorer he wanted followed rebuttals from the likes of John Marquis, James Hanson, James Collins and Danny Hylton.
How ironic it was then that Collins and Hylton grabbed Luton’s late goals to deprive the Stags of two points.