An u23s Steel City derby on Tuesday night offered the opportunity for a few more senior players to sharpen up.
Goals from experienced duo Lucas Joao and Almen Abdi were enough to seal a deserved victory for the Owls, who dominated throughout, after Tyler Smith gave United the lead.
Amongst the youngsters, Neil Thompson opted to field three better-known figures in his side. As well as calling upon Abdi and Joao, Marco Matias was also handed much-needed game time.
Here’s how the trio got on in the Steel City clash…
Making a rare appearance, Matias was causing all kinds of problems for the young United defence.
As well as trying to set Joao on his way on more than one occasion, the winger, who has made just three first-team appearances this term, was keen to try out his shooting boots.
In the first half alone he had two chances that went very close to handing the Owls the lead before firing inches wide just after half time. His experience showed against the young Blades but it was a strong showing from the winger as he stored a valuable 90 minutes under his belt.
It’s fair to say that since Abdi made the switch to Hillsborough from Watford in July 2016 things haven’t quite panned out as he and the Owls would have hoped for.
But in a rare appearance, the midfielder showed his qualities, albeit against a young, inexperienced United team.
After pulling the strings in the middle of the park, the 31-year-old capped off his evening’s work by bagging the winner when he capitalised on a loose ball to fire home an impressive volley to beat Blades goalkeeper Hugo Warhurst at the near post.
After making himself a nuisance for most of the contest, Joao finally did what he’d been picked to do and find the back of the net on 66 minutes, even though it only required the faintest of touches.
The frontman, who has been restricted to few chances so far this term, took full advantage of Matt Penney’s pinpoint cross to bring Wednesday level. His strength and pace was causing numerous problems for the young Blades defence and, on another day, the former C.D Nacional man could have had more goals to his name.
He was inches away from adding his second of the game just before the full time whistle when his curling effort from inside the box deflected just wide.