KACPER Lopata is backing Harrison Neal to make a big impact at Southend United.

The 20-year-old midfielder will be with the Shrimpers on loan from Sheffield United until the end of the season.

And, having played in the same Blades side as Neal last season, Lopata is pleased to have Neal joining him at Roots Hall.

“He’s a cracking player,” said Lopata.

“He will never admit it because he’s very humble and down to earth but he’s a cracking player.

“We played together the whole of last season and he’s a bit like Roy Keane.

“He’s very old school and works really hard.

“He listens and moves the ball well too.

“He will never back out of a tackle and he’s a pleasure to play with as well.

“He’s great in the changing room as well so he will get on with all the boys.”

Neal joins Blues having spent the first half of the season on loan with Kettering in National League South.

The midfielder - who comes to the club following the departure of another Sheffield United loanee Zak Brunt - will be reunited with the Shrimpers assistant manager Darren Currie at Roots Hall.

And Currie is looking forward to working with Neal once again after also coaching him while in charge of the Blades’ under 23 side last season “The one thing I’d say about Harrison and like I’d say about Kacper and Brunty as well is that it’s credit to work that they do at Sheffield United that these young boys who have the right mentality to go and play senior football,” said Currie.

“They’re all ready to go and there’s a number of them up there.

“The 23s there is run like a men’s team and it’s all about competing and winning.

“Harrison was the skipper of the team last year and led by example not just on the Saturday but from Monday to Friday as well.

“He’s got a fantastic attitude and mentality and he will play for us for the remainder of the season like he’s a lifelong Southend fan.

“For me you can’t have enough people like that and he will wear the shirt with pride.

“He will be desperate to do well and we want as many of them as we can get.”

Neal will train with the Shrimpers for the first time today and is a player Currie feels will suit Kevin Maher’s side.

“It’s needs must at times,” said Currie.

“When we came through the door it was identified we needed a bright spark, a bit of creativity and a commanding centre-half so Kacper and Brunty were the first through the door.

“But with a couple of Covid situations and some injuries it’s meant we’ve needed a bit of energy and bite in midfield and Harrison fits that bill so the time is right for me to come through the door.”