Charlton have seen their goal difference rocket from +12 to +22 since January, and that’s largely thanks to their watertight backline.

Having conceded just six goals in their previous 14 matches and four successive clean sheets, the Addicks on current form boast the best defensive unit in the league.

This is no fluke according to Lee Bowyer.

“We work hard, it’s not a coincidence, not luck, it’s down to hard work.

“(Johnnie Jackson) Jacko works hard with the back four, and (Andy Marshall) Marsh with the keeper, clean sheets are massive and I’m pleased they’re getting rewarded for their hard work.

“We always feel like we will score goals, we should score more at times.

“As a team, defending starts from the front, the hard work to stop them passing the ball forward from the back, it’s everybody.”

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At the heart of his backline Bowyer has recently been afforded the luxury of choice as Patrick Bauer, Naby Sarr and Jason Pearce had all been declared fit, a selection-headache the manager is happy with.

“It’s a good problem to have, I’d rather have it than not.

“All professional, all know the game, all know they suit certain games.

“I’ve said, you play well, you stay in.

“If I have the luxury to bring someone out, freshen up I will, but I wouldn’t do it if I thought it’d weaken the side.”

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With Luton coming to The Valley on Saturday, Bowyer’s backline will need to be on top of their game to subdue a lethal Hatters outfit who have scored an impressive 80 goals this campaign, just shy of two a game on average.

The manager however insists his side are no slacks in front of goal, and that it’s a matter of time before they produce a ruthless performance.

“At the moment we are defending very well, but I would like us to take our chances more.

“Saturday may be the time we are limited to chances, but we may take all of them!

“We are doing well.

“Our application and professionalism for each game is really good, our work ethic on and off the field is showing, but this is what I expect from us, we are a good side and I expect us to keep going to the end of the season.”

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