Addicks cool on Bent

Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley seems to have gone cool on Ipswich scoring ace Darren Bent.Now Curbishley admits his bid to bolster his Premiership squad during the January transfer window may not get off the ground.

Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley seems to have gone cool on Ipswich scoring ace Darren Bent.

Now Curbishley admits his bid to bolster his Premiership squad during the January transfer window may not get off the ground.

Meanwhile, Town's 14-goal top scorer Bent is with the first team squad taking a sunshine break in Tenerife, as their next first team game is not until February 5 against Sheffield United.

The Addicks are pressing for European qualification, following their 1-0 win over Everton, which saw them draw level with fifth-placed Liverpool.


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Curbishley has a transfer kitty of around £3million to spend but is frustrated at clubs' unwillingness to let players move – and he has warned his club will not be held to ransom.

"The transfer market is like a housing chain at the moment," he said.

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"Clubs can't sell players until they've got a replacement, so it is difficult for all managers. But we won't pay over the odds."

Town have slapped a large price tag on Bent, one of the hottest properties in the Championship, where the benchmark has been set for young strikers by the £3 million spent by Norwich City on Dean Ashton from Crewe.

So far, it seems, the price has driven away predators and the transfer window for Premiership clubs closes at the end of the month.

Charlton targets have included Bent and Nottingham Forest defender Michael Dawson, while they could also be in the market for Ghanaian midfielder Derek Boateng from Swedish outfit AIK Solna.

The 21-year-old is keen on a switch to the Barclays Premiership and AIK vice-chairman Alessandro Catenacci said he had been on trial at Southampton and Charlton.

The Town party returns on Friday after a break which includes training on the beach, golf and fitness work away from the winter snow and ice.

Royle sees the break as good for team morale, too.

"We proved on Saturday at Reading that we are as fit as any team in the league and the lads deserved this break.

He added: "We want to be champions of the Coca-Cola Championship. Or, at worst, runners-up and gain automatic promotion. We don't want the play-offs.

"There is a feeling in the camp that we are good enough to win the Championship – and anybody who finishes above us will have to go some.

"We sat down and had a chat soon after we arrived here and the players love being top of the table.

"It looks like a three-horse race now for the automatic promotion places.

"The table never lies, and Wigan and Sunderland are the two best sides we have played this season.

"They will keep going and we know that we still have plenty of work to do, but we don't intend to get caught.

"Being top going in to February is more significant than being top at Christmas, and we have held on to top spot for over a month."

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