Manager John Sheridan believes Carlisle United’s squad "accept too much on the pitch" from each other.

The Blues boss, who has already indicated this season he feels there are a lack of leaders in his squad, again stressed the need for more vocal characters on the pitch after United’s 2-0 FA Cup second-round loss at Lincoln.

Frontman Matt Rhead put the hosts ahead after just 28 seconds at Sincil Bank on Saturday. Substitute John Akinde then struck late to clinch the win.

“We nearly do this and nearly do that. Unlucky, unlucky, unlucky. People accept too much on the pitch,” Sheridan said.

“Unfortunately, that’s the group I’ve got.

“I walked in [the dressing room at Lincoln] and I didn’t say anything after the game. Not one player spoke. 

“I think they need to get talking to each other and sorting things out between themselves a little bit more.

“You just need strong characters. You’ve got to be mentally strong, when things aren’t going well.”

Having now exited the FA Cup, as well as the Checkatrade Trophy, 11th-placed Carlisle will look to bridge the four-point gap between themselves and the play-off places - or could face the possibility of seeing their season peter away if they can’t make ground on the top seven.

Former Oldham, Chesterfield, Plymouth and Fleetwood manager Sheridan wants his United side to try to take a leaf out of their cup conquerors' book, with the Imps second in League Two, only two points behind leaders MK Dons, who the Blues face on Saturday, but with a game in hand.

Sheridan added: “People are nearly doing things but this keeps happening. 

“You’ve got to [have] a bit of tough love. That’s the way I look at it.

“Get a grip of each other and don’t let things go by.

“You can see the way Lincoln play.

“I don’t think they’re a great footballing side but they’re 100 per cent, sprinting for things, never jogging, dying to score a goal, getting a head on the ball in both boxes.

“We do it well and then we switch off, then do it well and switch off again. 

“We’re not at the races for long enough periods.”

Jamie Devitt missed United’s cup clash at Sincil Bank after aggravating a calf problem in training, although Sheridan hopes the Irish playmaker will not be sidelined for long. 

He also confirmed Rotherham loan man Jerry Yates, who came off at half-time with a hip injury at the weekend, will be assessed, with popular midfielder Jason Kennedy set to see a specialist today on his long road to recovery from a pelvis problem.

Captain Danny Grainger and fellow defender Tom Parkes were again sidelined, too, but Sheridan refused to use his injury problems as an excuse for his side’s inconsistent form.

He said: “I try not to make excuses. 

“I just get on with what I’ve got.

“If they’re injured, they’re no good to me, with no disrespect. 

“I’ve got to pick the best team within who’s available. I just get on with it.”