Grimsby Town may have sent out a warning to the rest of the division ahead of Mansfield Town’s visit this Saturday when they won 3-1 away at leaders Exeter City last weekend.
But Stags boss John Dempster believes it just underlines how open the division is.
“Exeter were flying high but Grimsby went there and beat them convincingly,” he said as Mansfield head to Blundell Park looking for only a third win of a poor season so far.
“But there are no real results patterns, so we will just concentrate on ourselves.
“Michael Jolley is another young manager who’s had a season at it to get to know his players. He has done a good job there over a period.
“He’s had a couple of transfer windows to get the players in he wants and that can match his ideas.
“So it doesn’t surprise me Grimsby have slowly worked their way up the table as the manager has had time to get his ideas in and what he wants.
“I think they will be there or thereabouts, certainly pushing for the play-offs where they currently sit.
“They are a good team. They have some experienced players and good attacking options with pace up top, but also a physical presence and experience up there.”
Dempster said Stags were going to Grimsby with a sole ambition to win the game.
“We need to get three points from the game,” said Dempster.
“If, over a course of time, we perform like we have recently I believe we will win football matches.
“And if we gain a bit of momentum then more wins will come.
“Will we win every game? No. Will we lose games between now and the end of the season? For sure.
“That one goal on Saturday made a hell of a difference as to how people reflected on the game. And at Port Vale we were a minute away from a brilliant away victory.
“So at Grimsby we’ll be looking for the same attitude and application as well as the quality we need – someone to step up and be the hero. We have got that in our squad – good characters and good players.”
Having now had three transfer windows at the helm, Dempster’s opposite number Jolley has been able to mould his squad properly and that has had notable benefits on the pitch.
Adding goals to the squad was the main priority. It was duly addressed with the additions of ex-Stags star Matt Green, James Hanson and Moses Ogbu, who have nine in League Two between them.
Liam Gibson (loan) and Elliott Hewitt add versatility across the back-line, while another ex-Stag Luke Waterfall has brought further solidity and experience to the squad.
Sunderland loanee Ethan Robson is proving to be a real gem, too.
There has been considerable improvement each season, in terms of the squad make-up and results. Jolley steered the club to safety in 2017/2018, before consolidating last season and starting brightly this.
Cup runs, and the development of home-grown talent, has also been a key factor of his reign.
Grimsby are willing to mix it depending on the opposition and conditions. James Hanson is big threat in the air – and in front of goal.
However, the pace of Max Wright, Ahkeem Rose and summer signing Ogbu also gives them scope to play on the counter.
A top-half finish would be deemed a success by the majority of Mariners supporters, but there does appear to be a real opportunity for several clubs this season - such is the competitive nature of League Two - and Grimsby are one of many eyeing-up a charge at the play-offs.
Having been patient in waiting for his chance in the line-up, central midfielder Robson has scored three times in two League Two starts, including a couple of high-quality finishes against Exeter last weekend.
Former Bradford City striker Hanson has given Grimsby a new dimension this season, such is his aerial prowess, both in open play and from set-pieces.
It’s been a collective effort to start in the way they have, but Jake Hessenthaler is a key player in central midfield. He sets the tempo and has such a strong understanding of the game.
James McKeown, meanwhile, is one of the best shot-stoppers in the division.
Swedish defender Ludvig Öhman (groin) is on the mend, but not yet due to return.
The Mariners should otherwise have an full squad of players to choose from.