Lincoln boss delivers honest verdict on Sunderland defeat and Chris Maguire's return in Papa John's Trophy fixture
Lincoln boss Michael Appleton was critical of his side after they were beaten 2-1 by Sunderland in the Papa John’s Trophy.
The Black Cats squad was made up of a mixture of under-23s and first-team players, as Lee Johnson made 10 changes following Saturday’s defeat at Portsmouth.
Lincoln’s starting XI showed seven changes from their 2-2 draw with Plymouth in League One, and Appleton was disappointed with the players who came in
Former Sunderland attacker Chris Magire has recently returned from a hamstring issue and played 69 minutes, while defender Joe Walsh made his first appearance of the season following an injury setback.
Appleton picked out Jamie Robson, keeper Sam Long and Lewis Montsma, who scored a late consolation goal, as players who stood out but said they were few positives.
"The performance of some of the players was good, just not enough of them,” said Appleton after the match, as goals from Dan Neil and substitute Stephen Wearne gave Sunderland the win.
“The disappointment of the first goal got the better of four or five of them early doors. We took too long to get over it.
“In the second half, it became a bit like an under-23 game, which was the last thing we wanted.
“The likes of Jamie, Lewis, Sam, they can be proud of the way they played.
“Seeing Joe Walsh get 45 minutes and Chris Maguire get 65 minutes was really pleasing, looking forward to what’s ahead of us.
“But beyond that, there aren’t many of them who can take too much out of tonight.”
Lincoln, who beat Sunderland in the play-offs last season, are 16th in League One and will face Charlton after the international break.
“I felt it was an opportunity for some of the players to stake a claim, make me think and ask questions of me. I just didn’t get it,” added Appleton.
“They’ve watched games recently and seen how depleted we’ve been at times. Tonight was an opportunity to show they wanted to be part of the Charlton game, and the games after that.
“For me, there weren’t enough of them who did that.”