Goalkeeper backs Bruce

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The Independent Football

The Crystal Palace goalkeeper Matt Clarke has spoken out in defence of Steve Bruce, who is locked in a legal battle with the club's chairman, Simon Jordan, over his efforts to join First Division rivals Birmingham City as manager.

Clarke offered his support to the man who signed him for £1.35m from Bradford City in September, despite Bruce's exit from Selhurst Park.

Clarke said: "I've spoken to Steve Bruce since he left. He called me to say he felt awkward because I was his main signing. But I told him he had to make the right decision for him, and I'm not going to judge him on that. He gave me a chance and I did him a job. I won't criticise him, he's still a good manager and I wish him all the best wherever he is."

Chesterfield need to raise £500,000 before the end of the year to guarantee their existence in the Second Division. The Spireites, who are owned by the Chesterfield Football Supporters Society, must find the funds to assure the Football League that the club can fulfil its fixtures this season.

A CFSS spokesman said: "Everyone should understand that there is an ultimate threat to the very existence of the football club if the funding levels are not achieved. At this stage it does not look as if a shining white knight is about to bail us out, although we are keen to talk to any credible investor willing to take a significant stake in the club. We will even ask the membership to consider CFSS losing overall control if that is the only way the club can survive. The continued existence of the club is now in the hands of the people of Chesterfield."

The CFSS has suffered a number of blows in raising the much-needed cash. It had hoped to sell Saltergate, but there was not sufficient collateral in the ground. An American consortium decided against making an investment in the club following the atrocities in New York on 11 September, while a £1m loan from the Chesterfield Borough Council was also withdrawn.

The Manchester City manager, Kevin Keegan, has appointed Derek Fazackerley to his Maine Road coaching staff. Fazackerley, who worked with Keegan at Newcastle United and England, takes over from Willie Donachie, who left to work under Terry Yorath at Sheffield Wednesday. Fazackerley took part in his first City training session at the club's Carrington training ground yesterday.

Newcastle United have confirmed that David Geddis has joined Bobby Robson's coaching staff. The 43-year-old former Ipswich striker, a member of Town's FA Cup-winning side in 1978, has been reunited with his old manager on a three-month contract which runs until the end of February.