Some dismissed it as a complete irrelevance and, even within the dressing room, few tears were shed.
But, for Sheffield United goalkeeper Simon Moore, Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy defeat by Walsall definitely hurt.
“We have had a very good five or six weeks in the league,” he said. “So that was a disappointment because we weren’t at the races and that didn’t feel good. We haven’t really had that losing feeling for a while now. So, it hurt that little bit more. Every time you play football, you want to win.
“I know there is a lot of talk about the competition being a non-starter but when you play for Sheffield United it doesn’t matter who you are playing or what the competition is. We are out on the pitch to win and we did let ourselves down against Walsall.”
Despite admitting he would not be upset if the competition in its present format was scrapped, United manager Chris Wilder was also perturbed by the manner of his team’s defeat by Jon Whitney’s side. Expressing concerns about both goals conceded en route to a 2-1 defeat, the 48-year-old admitted coaching staff could be tempted to make changes against Port Vale next weekend when United will look to stretch their unbeaten run in League One to eight games.
“Maybe that was the kick up the backside we need to go into the next league game,” Moore continued. “We need to focus and get back to winning ways. The belief is still there, definitely. When things are going well, that is always the case. But we haven’t done anything yet.
“You can put together a little run of seven or eight games but that has to continue right to the end of the season. If we want to be successful, we have to do that. Things are great at the moment but we have to keep doing the right things if we want to get out of this league.”
Moore, aged 26, has been credit with helping to transform United’s fortunes following a slow start to the present campaign. After taking only one point from their opening four matches, they now sit fourth in the table following victories over the likes of Oxford, Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon in recent weeks.
With the postponement of tomorrow’s league meeting with Walsall denying United an opportunity to further close the gap on leaders Scunthorpe, Moore said: “It is frustrating not to have a game this weekend. We are on a good run but, fine, we are training hard and doing everything the coaching staff ask of us. We are building up to next Saturday’s game and determined to keep the league run going.
“That’s the mentality you’ve got to have if you want to achieve something in. And it’s why every defeat has got to hurt.”