WITH the greatest of respect to De La Soul, the magic number at the moment at Home Park is 15.
As the Pilgrims prepare to head to Yeovil for the second of five games in a 15-day period, they do so with 15 games left to play of a potentially historic season.
Argyle sit second in table, having accumulated 60 points from 31 games, and have done so broadly because of the efforts of 15 Pilgrims.
Though Argyle have used 24 players during the season to date, 15 of them have made up the bulk of the minutes played. From Curtis Nelson, Gary Sawyer and Ryan Brunt, who have each featured in every league game thus far, to Oscar Threlkeld, who has clocked up around 1000 minutes in the green and white, those 15 are the core responsible for Argyle’s position.
“From my point of view, we’ve used the least number of players in the league this season,” said Derek. “We’ve used 15 players, really. We’ve got a 16th player, Christian Walton, on 360 minutes, which is four games. Fifteen players have played more than 360 minutes, which is quite outstanding from a very talented group.
“We’ve probably got the best record, that way, of having such a good core holding. I don’t think anyone in the league will be able to match that.
“We’ve probably got the smallest squad in this division. If you look at the stats, the 15 players that we have used have all performed well and have very good fitness levels.
“We need to know how many games they have played – it comes into our reckoning when contracts come into play at the end of the season. The more minutes you play the better opportunity you have of staying for next season.”
That number of 15 players does not include the collective known as the number 12. More than 1,500 fans showed up in the away end at Crawley Town on Saturday, for a game taking place some 231 miles from Plymouth.
A similar following is expected to populate Huish Park on Tuesday, and Derek recognises the part the Green Army has play, both on the road, and in PL2.
“We’ve had magnificent backing,” said Derek. “The fans have done that throughout the season – home and away. To have over 1,500 on Saturday is a testament to them. They’ve given us outrageous backing throughout the season.
“The last time [we were supposed to play Yeovil] we were taking about 2,000 fans, so we will take a very big following. We did that on Saturday against Crawley – our home and away fans have been outstanding this season.
“It definitely helps. It gives the players that extra percentage, knowing they’ve got such a very good core following at away games.”