BLUES boss Phil Brown is sweating on the fitness of Luke O’Neill after the on loan Burnley right-back was forced to limp off during Saturday’s 3-0 win against Chesterfield.

As was revealed in Friday’s Echosport, O’Neill completed a month long switch from Burnley on the eve of the game.

But he was forced to come off just before the half-time break against the Spireites after suffering a thigh problem.

And Brown is hoping the defender will not be out of action for too long.

“It was a blow that Luke had to come off but we’re hoping we got him off before the injury got too bad,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“We brought him in because we wanted a round peg in a round hole and the pass he delivered in the build up to the first goal was as good as anything I’ve seen in any league this season.

“But after that his thigh tightened up and there was just no way he could carry on.”

O’Neill was brought in by Blues after first choice right-back and club captain John White suffered a dislocated shoulder during the FA Cup win against Millwall.

And the 22-year-old defender jumped at the chance joining the Shrimpers in order to play more first team football.

“I think it’s better to get out and get games and obviously the manager here is vastly experienced so I wanted to come in and play for him,” said O’Neill.

“I spent time out on loan with York earlier on in the season which was good for me and it certainly doesn’t concern me having to drop down the leagues.

“Hopefully I can do well while I’m with Southend and can help the team pick up more good results.”

O’Neill was replaced at right-back by Adam Thompson after suffering his injury and boss Brown was also impressed by the performance of the former Watford defender.

“Adam has assured me he can play right back and I thought he did well there when he came on,” said Brown.

“He put through a great ball for Barry Corr’s goal and he showed he can definitely do a job in there.”