Mansfield boss John Dempster believes League Two’s high-flyers will soon begin to look over their shoulders after the Stags’ 2-1 win at struggling Walsall.
The Stags – beaten play-off semi-finalists last season after missing out on automatic promotion by three points – rose four places to 14th with the victory.
Goals from ex-Walsall man Andy Cook – who joined the Stags from the Saddlers in the summer – and Alex MacDonald gave Mansfield victory either side of Elijah Abedayo’s leveller.
Dempster, who took over from David Flitcroft in May, said: “I’m probably annoyed with myself that I’ve only got this team to this point now, I wanted it to happen sooner.
“I’m not saying we are going to go on and win every game but there’s a definite change in energy since the Cambridge game (a 4-0 home defeat).
“By the end of that, we were lower than a snake’s belly. We hit rock bottom but we are now bouncing slowly up the table.
“I trust these players, I believe in them and I think over a period of time the teams above us will start checking their shoulder.
“We feel we’ve got the ability in the squad to climb the table. If we’re positive and we attack, whether home or away, we will win football matches because we’ve got quality.
“To back it up against Colchester next Saturday would be massive because when you put back-to-back wins together in this league, you shoot up the table.”
Cook’s header from Otis Khan’s hanging cross put Mansfield ahead and although Adebayo headed Walsall level from Rory Holden’s free-kick just before the break, MacDonald won it from close range.
Walsall boss Darrell Clarke was left to rue three misses from striker Rory Gaffney as his side slipped to 21st after a fifth straight defeat.
Clarke said: “We are where we are now, where we deserve to be, because of both boxes – we are missing very, very good chances, the other team is taking their chances, it’s as simple as that.
“I think some players need a bit of a break but it’s very difficult when you’ve got the injury list that we’ve got at the minute.
“Games are won on fine margins and at the top end of the pitch all the way through these first 16 league games we’ve missed really good opportunities at key moments.
“I thought we could have quite easily won today but you don’t win games if you don’t finish chances. It’s probably been the difference in a 12-point swing for us.
“We can’t put our heads in the sand, we’ve had an absolutely disastrous October and I’ll be glad to see the back of it. We have to rebuild and regroup.”