SWINDON Town’s recent defensive stinginess has brought a smile to the face of Ben Futcher, but the assistant manager has emphasised it’s not just the boys at the back that deserve the credit.

Tuesday’s 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy victory over Wycombe Wanderers was the third match in a row that Town have prevented their opponents from scoring, while only four goals have been shipped in seven matches stretching back to the end of September.

An ever-present back four featuring Olly Lancashire and Matt Preston with Matt Taylor and Ben Purkiss on the flanks could be one explanation for such miserliness during that run, while Kyle Knoyle debuted successfully at right-back against Wanderers, Ellis Iandolo starting on the left for the first time and Chris Robertson also stepping in.

But Futcher reckons the origins of such solidity start further up the field as the whole team take pride in their ability to shut down opponents.

“We have worked really hard defensively, we love clean sheets and we want as many of them as we can get,’’ said Futcher, who was a central defender during his playing days.

“It gives you a real platform and if you can get the clean sheets, with the attacking players we have at the club, we are always likely to score goals.

“It was a case of getting that defensive side of it right, which we have done.

“Bar those two games at home (3-0 and 4-1 defeats to Crawley and Barnet respectively), we have not conceded that many so we are delighted with the defensive shape and the structure and a clean sheet comes from work-rate and application from everyone.

“The front three are pressing and stopping the ball coming in so the clean sheet is a reward for the whole team and the hard work they have been putting in.’’ Town have had to be patient to see former West Ham youngster Knoyle, who joined in the transfer window but suffered a knee injury that ruled him out of the opening phase of the campaign.

Futcher added: “Kyle was fantastic. He was unfortunate that he got injured pretty much as soon as he came through the door.

“He has worked hard on his fitness and been patient, he has trained well and played for the reserves.

“I thought he was excellent on Tuesday and kept a clean sheet in his first 90 minutes and everyone is delighted for him.

“Ellis (Iandolo) has played left-back a couple of times in training for us so we have had a look at him.

“He is an athletic young lad with a good left foot and I thought he did really well. He had a bit of a sticky start but he came through it and I thought he was excellent in the second half.”