Curbishley reinforces defence

Charlton Athletic bolstered their defences yesterday by signing Manchester United's Jonathan Spector on a season-long loan while the 36-year-old Chris Powell decided to quit the newly promoted West Ham United to rejoin the Addicks.

The new arrivals bring to five the number of players signed by the Charlton manager, Alan Curbishley, this summer. Curbishley said yesterday that he expected to "get some more in" over the next fortnight.

Bids are being discussed for Norwich City's Damien Francis, while Charlton are monitoring developments at Newcastle United with their former player Lee Bowyer, who is also understood to be wanted by West Ham United for about £2m.

Bowyer has ruled out any move to Birmingham City and wants to move back to London. But he has told Newcastle that he will only do so if the deal is right otherwise he will remain at St James's Park.

The arrival of Spector, 20, is a coup for Curbishley, who has persuaded Sir Alex Ferguson that Charlton is the best place for theAmerican full-back to gain experience.

Powell, meanwhile, has returned to Charlton - who he first joined in 1998 - on a one-year deal. The former England left-back is keen to go into coaching and is likely to be offered eventually a role by Curbishley.

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