June 20, 2024

Former Southend United defender Kacper Lopata has signed a four-year deal at League One outfit Barnsley.

The Polish youth international joined the Shrimpers on loan from Sheffield United, before securing a permanent move for an undisclosed fee last September.

But after making 44 appearances for Kevin Maher’s side, scoring once, the 21-year-old left as the club’s off-field problems escalated.

He joined National League rivals Woking on a short-term deal, helping them into the play-off places, before securing a move to Oakwell on a free transfer.

And he was very clear when describing what he will bring to Michael Duff’s team.

“I’m a defender, I defend,” he told the club website.

“I love defending, I like to keep the ball out of the net or try anyway!

“I’m quite no-nonsense, I win my headers in both boxes, I pass it left, I pass it right – I keep it simple.

“I organise and I’d say that’s my job.”

The move to South Yorkshire should not pose too many problems for the Krakow-born centre-back, who joined Sheffield United in August 2020.

He made two EFL Cup appearances for the Blades, under Slavisa Jokanovic, and worked closely with former Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom, who was the U23s manager at Bramall Lane at the time.

“I know the area well. I lived 20 minutes from Barnsley,” he added.

“I love the area. I’m sure my dog is going to love it here again!

“It’s a great club to invest my future in. It’s got a great history of developing players and I thought I could do just that here.”

Barnsley chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad added: “We are pleased to be able to have signed Kacper on a long-term deal.

“He is a young player whose development we look forward to seeing at Oakwell.”

Former Southend High School pupil Josh Rees, meanwhile, has signed a two-year deal for National League Dagenham & Redbridge.

The 29-year-old midfielder joins the Victoria Road club following the expiry of his contract at rivals Boreham Wood, where he spent the past two seasons.

Rees netted 20 goals in 55 appearances for Bromley in 2017-18, helping them reach the FA Trophy final and Daggers boss Ben Strevens told the club website: “We are delighted to bring Josh to the club, I’ve been a massive admirer of him for a number of years.

“We have needed to add more goals around the team and especially in the midfield. We believe Josh will add goals like he has done previously with his qualities and the timings of his runs into the box.

“I think the fans will really like the energy and quality he shows in midfield with and without the ball.”

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