Totting up player count - and it’s getting near 200

Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday at Bramall Lane 'Harry Maguire runs away with the ball from Ben Marshall
Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday at Bramall Lane 'Harry Maguire runs away with the ball from Ben Marshall
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AS we move through the halfway stage of the season, the figure of 200 looms large across our six local clubs.

That’s the figure on the horizon as we tot up the total number of players who have been scribbled down on matchday teamsheets at our respective clubs so far this season.

In all, 189 players have been called on by our Big Six with all but a non-playing handful having made at least one appearance.

It may be no surprise to learn in view of their recent change in recruiting policy that Doncaster Rovers have called on the most players - 38 in all.

As they have two more signings eligible from January 1, they are poised to pass the 40 player mark.

As for Gary Megson, he has named 36 different players to be stripped and ready for action although three of those haven’t actually played.

Chesterfield have used 31 players so far whilst James Beattie became the 29th Sheffield United man involved this season when he donned the colours against Notts County.

It’s 29 also for Barnsley and the least number of players called on is the 26 of Rotherham United.

So, out of the 180-odd players used, how many have played every minute of every game for their club?

It’s just two.

And what would have been the odds, at the start of this season, on one of them being Sheffield United’s 18-year-old central defender Harry Maguire?

I venture those odds would have been pretty high indeed. Not least because a young, inexperienced player in his first full season might be given the odd rest or his form might dip. But no. Young Maguire has kept steadily rolling along, game in, game out, and his emergence and his consistency has been quite a bonus for Danny Wilson. His centre defence partner Neill Collins is only minutes behind him because he would have played every minute too but for being replaced very late on in the home game against Colchester in September.

The other player with an every-minute-in-every-game record so far is Rotherham United midfielder and captain Danny Harrison.

n No doubt Wednesdayites heard the Manchester City stat this week and hoped it might be an omen.

City topped the league at Christmas for the first time since Christmas 1929. They didn’t go on to win the title though. Sheffield Wednesday did. For a second successive season.

One Owls fan mumbled that they won’t do that this time then perked up... “It was Division One in those days so perhaps Wednesday can go on and win League One this time,” he reckoned.

n Had bit of a shock when popping the news on the other night.

Sub-titles always come up (until I turn them off) and I was half-paying attention to the headline pieces as they showed a shot from the funeral of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. However, the wording was a bit off. It said they were paying respects to Ray Illingworth.Now, as far as I’m aware, the former Yorkshire cricketing great is still very much alive so there’d been some sort of mistake somehow. Then again, perhaps there was some sort of link. The blunt-talking former Yorkshire and England captain was very much in charge when he was at the helm, his word was law and he usually reckoned he was right!