Wimbledon’s defensive options have been bolstered following the loan signing of Crystal Palace centre-back Kofi Balmer.
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman boasts Sky Bet League One experience having previously plied his trade on loan with Port Vale this season and is set to see out the campaign with the Dons.
Born in Newtownabbey, Kofi was previously described as an “old head on young shoulders” when he scored on his NIFL Premiership debut aged just 16 whilst playing for Ballymena United. He would go on to play just over 90 games for the Sky Blues before moving to rivals Larne.
It was with the Inver Park outfit that the defender would go on to become a full-time professional, culminating in a run of strong form that attracted interest from overseas. This saw Palace win the race for his services as they parted with an undisclosed fee to bring him to Selhurst Park, beginning his journey in English football.
The then Palace manager Patrick Vieira named Kofi as a substitute in three Premier League matches, in the same season he formed part of their under-21 side’s run to the Premier League International Cup final.
In July of last year the centre-back linked up with Andy Crosby at Port Vale, who also managed him for Northern Ireland’s under-21s. He would go on to make 16 appearances across all competitions for the Vale before a hamstring tear ruled him out for six weeks, leading to a recall by his parent club.
Now staying put in London to continue his development, Kofi has spoken of his excitement to get going in the colours of yellow and blue.
“I can’t wait to get started, meet the lads and hopefully have a good run in,” he said. “Ethan Chislett is a character, I really got on with him well at Port Vale, he’s had nothing but good things to say about Wimbledon. This was an opportunity that was too good to turn down.
“This is a very tightly orientated club. Everyone’s in it together, everyone is going to help you out. If the team was going through a rough time you’d not only have the staff and the players behind you but also the fans. When I came in to speak to the manager the other day I felt wanted.”
Johnnie Jackson said: “Kofi is a young, aggressive defender who likes to play on the front foot. He will really fit into our style and everything that we do here. He also has the advantage of League One experience and was really keen to be a part of what we’re doing. He will play a key role in helping us to kick-on in the second-half of the season.”
Head of Football Operations Craig Cope added: “We’re really excited to bring Kofi to the Club, he has a wealth of experience at senior level and suits our style. We’d like to thank Crystal Palace for their support in this window.”