Allen attempts to bolster Bees' defence

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The Independent Football

Martin Allen yesterday played down his Brentford side's chances in tonight's FA Cup fifth-round replay against Southampton at Griffin Park, pointing to their leaky defence as a reason not to get excited.

Martin Allen yesterday played down his Brentford side's chances in tonight's FA Cup fifth-round replay against Southampton at Griffin Park, pointing to their leaky defence as a reason not to get excited.

The prospect of a quarter-final tie against Manchester United lies in wait for the winners but Allen is not hopeful that his club's coffers will be swelled by a visit from Sir Alex Ferguson's team. "After conceding eight goals in our last three matches, I have to admit I'm not very confident," Allen said.

Brentford's last three results have been the 2-2 Cup draw with Southampton at St Mary's, a 3-1 defeat at Hartlepool and a 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in League One. "As a League One club, we are the underdogs," Allen added, "and after defending so poorly recently, it's not looking good."

Allen also has fitness doubts about his midfielder Andrew Frampton and the striker Deon Burton, who have suffered hamstring problemsin the run-up to the visit of Harry Redknapp's side. Stuart Nelson is poised to return in goal because Ademole Bankole is Cup-tied, while the on-loan midfielder Darren Pratley cannot play because he did not sign for the club in time to be eligible.

Allen spent considerable time trying to put his defence right during yesterday's training session. "We worked hard on our defending today, but we did exactly the same last week and we conceded eight goals," Allen said. "We have to ensure that this does not happen again."

Allen has studied the video of Southampton's 1-1 draw with Arsenal in the Premiership at the weekend. Redknapp's team produced a courageous performance to earn a point in a match where both sides had a man sent off. "I have watched the game, and I thought that Southampton were superb," Allen said. "I thought they played well in the first match against us, but that result and performance will have left them full of confidence. They had several chances to win the game, and Harry has got them playing really well.

"They have just drawn with the Premiership champions, and that makes our task even harder that it was already."

Redknapp must make changes to his midfield for the tie. Jamie Redknapp has a sore knee after his second game in five days against Arsenal while Nigel Quashie is Cup-tied. David Prutton is suspended for his sending off and Graeme Le Saux has flu. The first-choice goalkeeper Antti Niemi has not recovered from knee surgery but Paul Smith, who had a cracking match against Arsenal, will deputise.

Redknapp may also make a change up front by bringing back Kevin Phillips, who is fit again, at the expense of Henri Camara or Peter Crouch. Anders Svensson may be one of the midfield replacements despite publicly denouncing Redknapp's tactics and signing up to return to his local club Elfsborg at the season's end.

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