Southend United boss Kevin Maher has confirmed that contact has been made about re-signing QPR defender Joe Gubbins and Sheffield United duo Kacper Lopata and Harrison Neal on loan but revealed that their parent clubs want them back for pre-season.
The Championship trio were all loaned out to Roots Hall last season and helped Maher’s squad finish 13th in the table in the first year after dropping out of the EFL.
The Southend boss is keen to bring all three back to the club ahead of the 2022/23 campaign and has told Echo News that contact has been made over re-signing them, however, he revealed that both the R’s and the Blades want their players to report back for pre-season.
He said: “We’ve spoken to the club but they’re not our players so we understand the situation and there’s not much else we can do about it right now
“The clubs want their players to report back for pre-season before deciding what happens next and I completely understand that.”
Lopata, a 20-year-old centre-back, joined Southend in October and made 18 appearances before being recalled by the Blades in March.
Gubbins was signed on loan from the R’s later that month as his replacement and went on to make 10 appearances in the 2022/23 National League run-in.
Blades midfielder Neal, meanwhile, moved to Roots Hall in January and featured 22 times in the second half of the season.
Can you remember how much Sheffield United paid for these 22 summer signings?
Maher has confirmed the club’s interest in the Championship trio as well as revealing QPR and United’s plans for their young players.
It makes sense for the parent clubs to run the rule over the loanees during pre-season before deciding what the best course of action is.
Another loan move to Southend is not out of question but it may be that the R’s or the Blades decide their players need to test themselves at a higher level.
As is often the case with temporary moves for young players, it’s a waiting game now for the Shrimpers.