FRIDAY’S FORMER STAG: Craig Disley racks up 600th appearance

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Former Mansfield Town man Craig Disley racked up his 600th career appearance last Saturday.

The Worksop-born midfielder came through the ranks at Field Mill and made his professional debut in September 1999 under the management of Bill Dearden.

He came on as a second half substitute for Michael Sissons in a 4-0 win for the Stags at home to Shrewsbury and picked up a booking within minutes.

Disley helped Stuart Watkiss’s Mansfield side claim promotion into the Second Division in 2002 and went on to make 158 appearances for the Stags, scoring 16 goals.

He left Mansfield in the summer of 2004 and went on to have spells at Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury before joining Grimsby in June 2011.

Disley has gone on to make more than 230 appearances for The Mariners, winning promotion back to the Football League in May, and celebrated his milestone against Cambridge in a 1-0 win.

“I don’t think, when I look back to 1999, when I made my debut, I could have ever dreamt that I’d have had the career I’ve had,” Disley told the Grimsby Telegraph.

“When you’re a young lad, you’re maybe a little bit deluded and think it’s an easy path, but it’s tough. I’m glad it was all those years ago that I was first starting out because it’s a lot more difficult to make your way in the game now.

“Records like that are becoming rarer and rarer – there aren’t too many 35-year-olds still playing now! With the way the game is going, I don’t think many more milestones like this will be reached, so I consider myself extremely privileged to have had the career I’ve had.

“To be at the stage I am and to be at my age having only had four clubs is quite rare in itself,” he added. “When I go to a club, I do tend to stick around. Barring a couple of injury-hit seasons at Shrewsbury, I have had lengthy spells at the clubs I’ve been at and it shows to me that I’ve done okay for them, which is a compliment.

“It’s absolutely flown by, but hopefully it’s not finished and I’ve still got a couple more years in the legs yet.

“I’m naturally quite fit and bar those two years at Shrewsbury, I’ve never really sustained anything major injury-wise and I’ve never undergone an operation in my career, which is quite surprising as well, so hopefully there’s still a few more chapters to write.”