Here’s an interesting little stat (or at least, I think it’s interesting!) – only four of the 24 teams in the Skrill Conference Premier this season have used less players than Grimsby Town. The Mariners have used 26 players so far this term in the league, with only Braintree (23), Macclesfield (24), Salisbury and Alfreton (both 25) having used less. The statistics, revealed by Alan Alger on Twitter yesterday, suggest the more successful teams are the ones who use the least number of players. The teams with the tightest squads tend to do better. You can see the details in full here (click to enlarge):
Tamworth, with 40 players and Hyde with 39, are not only the worst culprits when it comes to the size of their squads, but also prop up the table in 23rd and 24th respectively. I guess that’s obvious – when you’ve been on a run as Hyde have, you will try anything and everything to win a game. That often means new players and new formations – in the case of Hyde, 39 of them have pulled on a shirt so far. 23 of them – nearly two-thirds – have played less than 10 games for the club. It’s been a case of ship them in and straight out, but nothing has worked as the club is destined for the drop.
So what of the sides at the top? Alfreton are in the Play Offs and are the most consistent of the sides around them, with 11 players having managed 20 or more games. Luton and Cambridge have eight and nine players managing 20 games or more. The Mariners have just five. That said, there are 10 Town players with between 10 and 20 games under their belt, compared to four for Alfreton and Cambridge and five for Luton. Does that suggest Town’s squad rotation policies, mixing up minutes for the likes of Rodman, Colbeck and Neilson, for instance, is better than sticking to the same XI week in, week out?
With Town’s injury list mounting, and Connor Jennings recently brought in to swell the ranks, there’s a chance Town’s number could jump up from 26 by the time the season comes to a close. Ultimately, as long as it brings promotion, does it really matter how many players are used over a 46-game season?