The only silver lining to Sheffield United’s cup defeat to Lincoln City

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There weren’t too many positives to take from Sheffield United’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Lincoln City

On the face of it, Sheffield United’s performance and result in losing to League One Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup was far from memorable.

The Blades never really got going throughout a match in which manager Paul Heckingbottom had made nine changes to the starting line-up from that which narrowly lost to Manchester City at the weekend.

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The opportunity was there for some to stake their claim for more regular appearances but by the admission of the coaching staff, there was no one who had earned the right to be beating down the boss’ door ahead of Saturday’s early afternoon meeting with Everton at Bramall Lane.

That said, if there was a silver lining to a forgettable night for the 11,000 who were there to witness it, it was the ‘minutes under the belt’ for a few key players and some who could be called upon to play important roles.

Cameron Archer made his debut following his arrival from Aston Villa at the end of last week; Oli McBurnie notched up another half of football as he continues his recovery from an injury picked up in pre-season and there was also a steady if unspectacular start from another debutant, Auston Trusty in defence.

If you are having to cling onto something from the drab encounter, then therein lies some brightness amid the gloom. However, meekly falling out of the competition at this stage, could have further ramifications further down the line.

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“That’s the only positive about tonight,” admitted first team coach Stuart McCall in his post-match appraisal. “We got people who got some minutes. We wanted to get as far as we can in the competition, naturally, because it would also give us another game down the line when other lads might be coming back from injury. It’s hugely disappointing throughout the night from start to finish and we can’t afford too many of them.

“No excuses. Obviously the atmosphere here on Sunday against the champions Manchester City was incredible, tonight was a little bit different, so the atmosphere was a little bit flat but that doesn’t mean our performance has to be and unfortunately it was.”

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