Sheffield Wednesday's Marvin Johnson facing wilderness with Xisco Munoz open to adding free agents to over-manned squad
The arrivals of John Buckley and Jeff Hendrick – both signed too late to make debuts at Leeds United on Saturday – takes the number of senior players in the Owls squad to 27.
Football League clubs, like their Premier League counterparts, have to submit a squad list of 25, which can be supplemented by anyone born after January 1, 2002, such as 19-year-old winger Djeidi Gassama, signed from Paris Saint-Germain last month.
Sheffield Wednesday are the only Yorkshire club who have a surfeit.
So at least two from Johnson, Devis Vasquez, Cameron Dawson, Di’Shon Bernard, Dominic Iorfa, Michael Ihiekwe, Bambo Diaby, Akin Famewo, Ciaran Brennan, Reece James, Liam Palmer, Pol Valentin, Will Vaulks, Tyreeq Bakinson, Momo Diaby, George Byers, Barry Bannan, Josh Windass, Juan Delgado, Anthony Musaba, Mallik Wilks, Callum Paterson, Ashley Fletcher, Michael Smith, Lee Gregory, Buckley and Hendrick will have to be omitted.
The list can be updated in January when the next transfer window opens.
The reason for saying "at least two" is that coach Xisco Munoz has left the door open to sign free agents, and these can only be added if there is space on the 25-man list, or if they are under-age.
But only players out of contract before Friday's deadline day can move as free agents, meaning Johnson cannot play for anyone else until the next window even if his contract were to be cancelled in the meantime. Some lesser leagues' transfer windows are still open but Major League Soccer's – which was Lewis O'Brien's get-out when the now-Middlesbrough midfielder was left off Nottingham Forest's list in January – is not one of them.
The winger, who signed a new contract three days before Munoz was appointed, is one of only four players on the list – along with Brennan, the injured Wilks and the deadline-day arrivals – not to have played a minute under Munoz.
The length of the 32-year-old Johnson's new deal was never revealed.
Derby County showed interest in the former Middlesbrough player, whose new contract was reward for the key part he played under Darren Moore, but a loan fee was thought to be a stumbling block.
Asked to clarify Johnson's situation at the weekend, Munoz said simply: "I don't know exactly what his situation is right now." That in itself probably speaks volumes.
Existing players not on the list can be added later so depending on the severity of Momo Diaby or Wilks' injuries – and Munoz has been particularly coy on the former – they could be left off.
Asked if he would enter the free agent, market Munoz replied: "Always.
"It's important. With me, I will always try to improve. If not, why not?
"We are thinking about what is best for the club.
"You're only thinking about how you can improve the situation and you can improve your squad or your club.
"I'm working and I'm thinking. If we can do it, we will do it."
But he stressed they might not be quick-fixes.
"You need to understand I don't only think for now," he said.
"If you're only thinking of now, for sure you wouldn't sign some players because they haven't had a pre-season."If you want a result for tomorrow, you don't sign them. It's impossible for them to be ready tomorrow. They need a minimum of four, five, six weeks to be ready."But if you are thinking to improve the situation for the club, why not? If it's better for us for the future, why not?"I'm really happy with the squad we have but if something is good in the market, sure we have ambition to try to do it."
Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor has been very open in saying he wants to dip into the free agent market. The Millers have 22 senior players.
Middlesbrough, Bradford City and Leeds United are at the 25-man limit but the Whites' list includes Helder Costa, who has been told he can leave. The transfer window is still open in Saudi Arabia, where he spent last season on loan at Al-Ittihad, amongst others.
According to the Football League handbook: "The League will publish each club’s squad list and a list of all other contract players eligible to participate in league matches but not included on the squad list, on the League’s official website within seven days of the closing of a transfer window."