U's seal year-long loan deal for Balogh

COLCHESTER United have completed the signing of Hungarian international, Bela Balogh, but he will not be available for the start of the season.The U's wrapped up a deal last night, which paves the way for centre-half Balogh to spend a year-long loan spell at Layer Road.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United have completed the signing of Hungarian international, Bela Balogh, but he will not be available for the start of the season.

The U's wrapped up a deal last night, which paves the way for centre-half Balogh to spend a year-long loan spell at Layer Road.

However, the 23-year-old will be out of action for a fortnight, due to a broken nose sustained during Wednesday evening's pre-season friendly at Bromley.


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Balogh's return follows an initial trial period which ended without a deal being struck. His nose needs to be re-set, after which he will have to avoid physical contact for a while.

However, the capture of Balogh is a big boost for the U's, who begin their Championship campaign with a trip to Sheffield United tomorrow week.

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The talented defender has earned seven caps for Hungary. At the end of his loan spell, from MTV Hungaria, a permanent deal might be struck.

U's chief executive, Marie Partner, said: “It is not often that Colchester United manage to sign a current international, and with that comes the added complication of red tape and regulations involved in a foreign player transfer.”

Former U's players have played for their country after leaving Layer Road, such as Mark Kinsella and Lomana Lua Lua.

And others have arrived at Layer Road after their international days have ended - Teddy Sheringham is an obvious example.

But few have played international football while on Colchester's books. Centre-half Efe Sodje is an exception, he played for Nigeria when he was a U's player seven years ago.

Ironically, Sodje was in Gillingham's central defence for the 4-2 defeat of the U's on Tuesday night.

Balogh impressed for Geraint Williams' men in the first two summer friendlies, at Heybridge Swifts and Cambridge United. But his trial period was then brought to a sudden end, so he missed the matches against Chelmsford City, a Liverpool XI and Gillingham, before making a surprise return for the 1-1 draw at Bromley.

Meanwhile, the U's face the biggest test of their pre-season programme when Premiership side Bolton Wanderers visit Layer Road tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

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