Sheffield United saw off AFC Fylde yesterday despite a number of first-team changes, winning comfortably in the end despite a late goal from the non-league outfit.
The Blades managed to safely negotiate a tricky tie. Chris Wilder was mindful of last season’s failure against Barnet, so was pleased to see his team win through in the end.
Having made wholesale changes – Wilder swapped his entire first XI – things were never going to flow like they do in the Premier League.
However, a number of Sheffield United players did their chances of breaching the first XI no harm. Yes, Fylde were a lower standard, but the workrate and application still needed to be there.
Chris Wilder is often reluctant to change his tried and trusted. But at least a couple of his players did at least give him some food for thought yesterday.
Here’s a look, then, at the Sheffield United players who put in solid displays against AFC Fylde yesterday.
Freeman was involved in most of the good things United did yesterday. He linked up well with Ben Osborn down the left-hand side and played a role in both goals.
He’s featured in most squads this season but only started a handful of games. John Fleck’s form has ensured Freeman has been out of the picture, but his performance yesterday at least showed what he can do.
Leeds are reportedly interested in signing him, so it will be interesting to see what the Blades’ next move is with Freeman.
It was clear from the off that Robinson was desperate to get among the goals yesterday. He took his strike well, too. A sharp turn and effort showing how nifty he can be in and around the box.
The workrate was there from Robinson and although he snatched at a few efforts, Chris Wilder will have been pleased with his striker’s contribution.
Did we really expect anything else from the experienced defender?
Jagielka was calm and composed throughout and showed why he had played at the top level for so long. He was rarely troubled and helped marshall an inexperienced defence throughout the tie.
Given that Rodwell has only just signed for the club, he did very well in an attacking right centre-back role.
Seemingly brought in as cover for Chris Basham, Rodwell showed his class at times. His positional sense was impressive and he linked up well with Kieron Freeman in the first half.
The Blades will hope his injury is nothing serious.