Steve Evans says the belief was always there but after one full year in charge at Stevenage, he couldn't have asked for too much more. 

It was March 16 last year when the Glaswegian replaced Paul Tisdale at the Lamex and yet even one of football's more charismatic and confident characters has been taken a little bit by surprise at the form of his team.

But while Boro have 11 games to go again, the same number as the club had played when he arrived in Hertfordshire, they have doubled their points tally to sit second in League Two.

"It's been exciting," said the boss. "When you join a football club, you normally join either because someone's done well and they've gone on to better things or the team is struggling.

"We came in when the team was struggling but there was an objective to change that with the chairman and the board willing to ensure survival. 

"We did that and then we spoke openly about trying to create a side that could compete for promotion. 

"That's very difficult to do at this level but we've done it so far with 11 games to go. 

"We have 100 per cent increased our points from last year and it's amazing. We walked in the door on the same number of games and 33 points. Now we’ve 66. 

"That in itself is fantastic but that [improvement] is all round the club."

The position they find themselves in now is one which has them very much in the frame for automatic promotion.

But did he truly expect that to be the case when he took over?

"No," was the typically honest reply, "but you have to believe in football, don't you? You have to believe in your convictions.

"I think if you stopped the entire EFL today, we are the one club in the whole of the EFL who has exceeded what anyone thought they would do. 

"Everyone at the start of the season has dreams and ambitions, whether that’s promotion or having a season without relegation. 

"To have a football club that should have been relegated in the season Macclesfield had their financial irregularities, or who has consistently struggled in that bottom three or four, to then turn it around is a big ask. 

"But our leader believes and you have to buy into the vision. 

"He's excited and so he should be, like the rest of us."

Evans has been grateful too for the support given to him by Phil Wallace.

And even though the Boro chairman had long been an admirer of the Scot, the expectations Evans had coming into the building have been far exceeded.

He said: "You get chairman who tell you as it is, and that's what happens and then you get chairman who tell you how it is and you get the opposite when you work with them. 

"I've been very fortunate with the majority of chairman I’ve worked for. They deliver what they say. 

"Phil Wallace spoke openly about me running the football operation and that's what happens, with support from all the staff, none more so than my immediate staff, Paul and Revs and Pledge and Matty and the players. 

"I'm really proud of every one of them. They've all played a part."

Stevenage go to Carlisle on Saturday in a repeat of the penultimate game of last season.

A 2-1 loss led to Evans saying categorically that there would be changes in personnel, simply because "we owe our supporters more and we owe ourselves more".

He has delivered on that promise but he also thanked the fans for joining them on the journey.

"It's been both ways," he said. "We've seen a real increase in attendances. 

"Some clubs manufacture them so they include everything. If you're on the train station platform down the road, you might be put in the numbers. 

"Here it is very accurate but my view in every football club I’ve been at has always been that supporters will come when you produce a team that wins football matches. 

"Entertaining football is another requirement and we've produced that but equally we're indebted to the supporters because the money to watch us these days is hard to get. 

"So from that point of view, it's a big thank you to the supporters and the people of Stevenage.

"But we're going to need them more than ever over the next six to seven weeks."