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statistics supplied by Carling Opta
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Nationwide Footie Facts OPTA INDEX
Ranking Player Team Rating
1 Billy Mercer Bristol City 1,127
2 Roy Carroll Wigan Athletic 1,034
3 Gary Kelly Oldham Athletic 960
4 Kevin Dearden Wrexham 913
5 Shaun Marshall Cambridge United 911
6 Darren Ward Notts County 853
7 Paul Crichton Burnley 831
8 Martin Taylor Wycombe Wanderers 742
9 Morten Hyldgaard Scunthorpe United 677
10 Scott Howie Reading 559
Ranking Player Team Rating
1 Nicky Southall Gillingham 928
2 Keith Millen Bristol City 905
3 Jamie Bates Wycombe Wanderers 817
4 Graham Alexander Preston North End 815
5 Darren Powell Brentford 814
6 Ian Cox Burnley 768
7 Barry Ashby Gillingham 754
8 Marvin Johnson Luton Town 733
9 Clarke Carlisle Blackpool 728
10 Steve Blatherwick Chesterfield 724
Ranking Player Team Rating
1 Paul Mortimer Bristol City 1,029
2 Darren Caskey Reading 944
3 Matthew Spring Luton Town 847
4 Rob Matthews Preston North End 732
5 Darren Ferguson Wrexham 728
6 James O'Connor Stoke City 702
7 Scott Murray Bristol City 673
8 Sean Gregan Preston North End 672
9 Richard Carpenter Cardiff City 670
10 John Sheridan Oldham Athletic 650
Attacking Midfielders
Ranking Player Team Rating
1 Lee Hodges Scunthorpe United 926
2 Gary Owers Notts County 877
3 David Eyres Preston North End 861
4 Dave Carroll Wycombe Wanderers 752
5 Karl Duguid Colchester United 737
6 Ray Williams Chesterfield 736
7 Graham Kavanagh Stoke City 727
8 Paul Ifill Millwall 709
9 Brian Tinnion Bristol City 696
10 Christer Warren Bournemouth 629
Ranking Player Team Rating
1 Jason Roberts Bristol Rovers 1,170
2 Jonathan Macken Preston North End 1,103
3 Neil Roberts Wrexham 931
4 Liam George Luton Town 905
5 Nicky Forster Reading 884
6 Phil Gray Luton Town 773
7 Andy Cooke Burnley 761
8 Simon Haworth Wigan Athletic 747
9 Steve McGavin Colchester United 719
10 Andy Payton Burnley 689

Opta Nationwide Football League
Division Two Index
[matches played
 2 January- 7 February 2000]

Top scoring footballer in the Division Two over the last six games has been Bristol Rovers striker Jason Roberts. The highly-rated hitman has bagged five goals in his last five games as Rovers push for promotion. But he is the only representative from the Memorial Stadium in the latest Opta Index, indicating his value to the surprise pacesetters.

Bitter rivals Bristol City have a number of players in the Index, including goalkeeper Billy Mercer, who is the top shotstopper for the second week running. Defender Keith Millen is rated as the second best defender, while former Charlton midfielder Paul Mortimer is the number one in that category.

Roy Carroll of Wigan Athletic is ranked as the second best 'keeper in recent weeks, validating Liverpool's reported interest in the ex-Hull player. Top defender is Nicky Southall of Gillingham, catapulted to national recognition after his superb goal against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup. Jamie Bates of Wycombe Wanderers is in third place, helped by his bullet free-kick against Scunthorpe United.

Behind Mortimer in the midfielder's Index is Reading's much-scouted Darren Caskey. The blond schemer has scored nine times in the league for the Royals, prompting fears that a club from a higher division may poach him. Luton's young starlet Matthew Spring is in third place after a series of performances belying his age.

Scunthorpe's Lee Hodges regains his place as the top attacking midfielder in Division Two. The ex-West Ham prodigy is undoubtedly the Iron's most potent threat and his dribbling is unsurpassed at this level. Wycombe's Dave Carroll, a man at the other end of his career, is steadily climbing the Index and is now in fourth place, thanks to his exceptional free-kick at Wrexham.

And behind Roberts in the strikers Index is Preston's Jonathan Macken and Neil Roberts of Wrexham. Both are players in their early twenties, and seem to be consistently reaching the standard of play that they have hinted at in the past.

statistics supplied by Carling Opta

*A team of specially-trained Opta analysts monitor and record every touch of the ball in the FA Carling Premiership, Nationwide Football League and Bank of Scotland Scottish Premier League using state-of-the-art digital voice-recognition software. Each touch is awarded plus or minus points based on a system originally devised in conjunction with former England coach Don Howe. The Opta database then averages out each player's scores over the last six games to produce the Index, widely considered to be the quintessential guide to player form. Players must have played at least 225 minutes over the last six games to qualify.

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