Five Things We Learned: Sheffield United 2-0, 4-0 Imps

Credit Graham Burrell

This morning, the Imps have played 120 minutes of football against a strong Sheffield United side. 

It was a two-game affair, 60 minutes each, which we lost 2-0 and 4-0. Players such as Sander Berge, Rhiann Brewster and a host of other big names appeared for Sheffield United, making it a challenge for City. I didn’t watch the matches, but I’ve been provided with an overview of some of the key points for you, which I’ll go over briefly now.

Max Sanders impresses

Sanders played in the first game (or as it was put to me, the only game that was worth it for us), and I’m told he looked good. He was often found deep, pinging crossfield passes to feet like a midfielder we didn’t have last season. I said on this morning’s dog walk that I felt it could be a big season for Max (mind you, I said it last season), and perhaps we might be right. Could it be he is the successor to Bridcutt, despite not showing it over the last 18 months? Who knows, but a new manager could breathe new life into a player once rated as likely to break through at Brighton. That said, Sorensen played in the holding role also, and looked more composed than last season.

TJ at Right Back

When I think of TJ Eyoma impressing, I recall it as being at right-back, not centre-back. He’s started twice at full-back now, and it seems as though Regan Poole’s outings last season have seen him shift to centre-back. I think we had a lot of square pegs in round holes last season, due to injuries, and perhaps a decent-sized squad will see players back in their natural positions. For me, Eyoma is a fullback, so it was good to see him there.

Higher Tempo

Ok, so at times we couldn’t get a lower tempo than last season, but it seems we have shifted gear. Ok, it was a training exercise today, but we played at a higher tempo, eager to get forward quickly and get the ball into dangerous areas. We’re not talking long ball, that won’t happen, but I’m told we seemed more intense, which is a good thing. Not to hark back to former glroies, but when we played with intensity under Danny Cowley, we were a threat. Blending that application with the football of Michael Appleton might give us Mark Kennedy’s approach; the best of both worlds.

First Game, First Team?

All the fit summer signings (bar Jay Benn) started the first game (which our guy has stressed a second time was the only worthwhile game), and coupled with Poole, Robson, Eyoma, Hopper and Sanders, suggests it could be the chosen first XI thus far. That wouldn’t be a terrible thing; the team looked organised and were arguably the better side after going 2-0 down. The result really matters little in this instance, but I think we might be seeing the start of the first XI – that’s a back four of Eyoma, Poole, O’Connor and Robson. Even if that’s the only real takeaway right now, it’s a good start; if that four play 30 games together in the league, we’ll be in a better place than we were last season.


We had two trialists playing, one of which has been identified as Conor Malley, formerly of Boro. Sadly, he didn’t impress (he did nothing but get hit in the face with the ball was the report), but we might see him against on Wednesday at Sleaford. He has been on trial with Huddersfield as well this summer, so we’ll watch that. Thus far, there’s no name on the other trialist, but he didn’t stand out either. I’m told the second game we weren’t competitive, but then they had a £18m Norweigan international on the pitch, and we had a midfield comprising two trialists and a former youth team player with no senior football to his name in Morgan Worsfold-Gregg.


We lost two matches, sure, but the results matter little. We are beginning to see signs of the direction Mark Kennnedy wants to take the team, and perhaps which players he sees fit to do so. I think we all acknowledge the need for midfielders, and today’s game, particularly the second one, underlined how short we are in that department. With a couple of players to come into the side (Mandrou, Walsh, Montsma etc), we’re beginning to look as if we have a little depth, which will doubtless be improved as the summer rolls on.