A case for the defense...

Last updated : 28 April 2005 By Smallsy
Brentford manager Martin Allen believes his side's defensive strength has been a key factor in maintaining their play-off challenge this season.

The Bees have conceded just 54 goals in 43 league games, the sixth best record in League One, and kept a remarkable 22 clean sheets to compensate for their shot-shy attack, who have scored just 51 goals.

Only champions Luton (43), promoted Hull (49), fellow play-off contenders Tranmere and Bristol City (both 53) and, surprisingly, Colchester (48) have conceded less than the Bees.

Allen admitted: "Our defence has been the big thing for us this season - we've kept 22 clean sheets."

He reserved special mention for defender Sam Sodje, who has also scored an impressive seven goals.

"It's a good contribution," said Allen. "He's done very well, I'm pleased with him."