THE defence will be key to getting any result against Coventry on Saturday according to County Ground chief Mark Cooper.

Town chalked up their first clean sheet of the season against Crewe last weekend but then conceded four goals against Brighton on Tuesday night - albeit with caveats for the injuries sustained.

Last season Swindon kept 13 clean sheets and conceded 71 goals in all competitions. So far this term the record is nine conceded in six games. That’s slightly up on the goals-per-game average from last season but drawing from a small pool and includes the Brighton result which was not under normal circumstances.

However the slips from Town’s backline on Tuesday have obviously concerned Cooper who made a point to stress his team must improve in that department.

“For me the central battle is always about keeping the ball out of the net,” he said.

“We kept a clean sheet on Saturday then we conceded four the other night, albeit we had eight men on the pitch towards the end who could run.

“We still conceded four goals that were avoidable. So we have to make sure we concentrate on making sure we defend a little bit better.

“When our back’s against the wall we (make sure) don’t make rash decisions in our defending, we stand up we don’t dive in, in the box. When crosses come in the box we make sure we don’t leave men free, we mark them. That’s where games are won and lost.”

Injuries may stretch Cooper’s squad to the limit, but he insisted his side would still be competitive.

“Steven (Pressley, Coventry manager) will be rubbing his hands together with the effort we put in the other night, with the amount of injuries and suspensions.

“It’s a little bit frustrating because it was such a good performance from us that we’re going to be missing four players out of that team.

“We’re going to try and get the best team we can on the pitch and give Coventry a real test.”

The overhaul of the Sky Blues’ playing staff during the summer had not gone unnoticed by Cooper but he felt confident in he knew what to expect from Steven Pressley’s team.

“They’re different in personnel but very similar in structure in the terms of the way they play the game.

“They like to play football. They like to press the opposition, that hasn’t changed. We don’t get too het up in worrying too much about other teams.

“We give them full respect and make our players aware of what there threats are we try and concentrate what we’re going to do.”