Swansea City's record so far this season reads: Played 16, won eight, drawn five, lost three, goals for 22, goals against 16, goal difference six.

All importantly, they sit fourth - bang in the mix of a promotion battle. Few would have predicted it at the start of the term, but make no bones about it, Swansea are right in it.

Steve Cooper has done a sterling job guiding Swansea to where they are, with his team around him also due their share of the plaudits.

Mike Marsh, Martyn Margetson and Alan Tate have all done their bit on and off the field, with new head of recruitment Andy Scott also working behind the scenes. And chairman Trevor Birch and stalwarts Leon Britton and Alan Curtis all deserve credit for installing the new-look team in the first place.

Cooper et al have brought a tight-knit squad even closer, and with a sprinkling of new faces, have got Swansea clicking.

It is quite clear that Cooper, Marsh, Margetson and Scott can spot a player, and have had more hits than misses in their short tenure to date at the Liberty Stadium.

You only have to look at Swansea's recent games to see the effectiveness of their recruitment.

Ben Wilmot, a loan signing from Watford, has stepped in to fill the Joe Rodon-shaped void in the backline and has grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

He has popped up with two vital goals in recent weeks - the derby winner against Cardiff City and the last-gasp equaliser at Hillsborough last weekend - and has been a rock at the back alongside Mike van der Hoorn.  Still just 20, he has the promise of a Premier League player.

Sam Surridge, another temporary signing, this from Bournemouth, has had to bide his time for minutes due to the early-season form of Andre Ayew and Borja Baston, but he has played an integral part in recent weeks.

Freddie Woodman

Interestingly, Surridge has jumped ahead of the Spaniard in terms of first-off-the-bench introductions in the last few games and repaid Cooper with an injury-time header against Wigan earlier this month.

And then there is Freddie Woodman, arguably Swansea's player of the season so far, who has made an historically difficult positional problem at the Liberty almost disappear overnight.

Since the departure of Lukasz Fabianski Swansea have struggled for consistency between the sticks and Erwin Mulder and Kristoffer Nordfelt,  through a combination of injury and indifferent form, have failed to nail down the spot. Woodman was immediately identified by Cooper and Margetson, swiftly brought to SA1 and he has done extremely well so far.

 

These three signings prove that the recruitment team have the right credentials and a success rate. But what about Aldo Kalulu and Kristoffer Peterson, I hear you cry.

Well, the duo haven't hit the heights expected as yet, but there is mitigation in their circumstances; Kalulu has been injured since his second appearance, and Peterson has struggled with fitness concerns due to the lack of a pre-season, and with occasional illness. The brief outings he has had, he's looked decent.

The final summer addition (in fact he was the first signing of the Cooper era), Jake Bidwell, has been steady.

Swansea sit fourth in the Championship table, with a third of the season gone already. You can argue all you want about the merits of going up this term and whether Swansea are actually ready for it (that is a discussion for another day), but if the ownership want to get back to the Premier League, they need to give Cooper the backing and support to achieve it. 

So what do they need?

Swansea City are right in the play-off mix after a third of the season

The keeper situation looks sorted, and barring an injury crisis at Newcastle United, Woodman is here to stay until the end of the season.

At right-back, Kyle Naughton and Connor Roberts are locked in an intriguing battle for the starting spot, which has to be a most welcome problem for Cooper.

At left-back, Bidwell has been solid if not spectacular, and Declan John can count himself unlucky that he hasn't seen more game-time over the opening third of the season.

But in the heart of defence, Cooper does have a potential issue. Rodon's injury has exposed the lightweight defensive nature of the squad and if anything were to happen to van der Hoorn or Wilmot, it would mean Ben Cabango stepping in. Much is thought of the youngster at Fairwood, but he would no doubt benefit from being eased into first-team action, not thrust in should an injury occur.

In the middle of the park there is an argument to suggest that Swansea lack a stereotypical hardman, a player who can mix it up a bit and do what is needed in the engine room in one of the most physically demanding leagues in football.  Leroy Fer performed that role to a certain extent but it would be wrong to suggest Swansea are missing the Dutchman, considering he was injured for large swathes of last season and the season before.

 

Out wide Cooper is well blessed with options - Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge, Peterson, Jordon Garrick, Bersant Celina (when not playing No.10) and Ayew all doing jobs there - and in the playmaker role Celina is assisted by Yan Dhanda and George Byers, as well as Kalulu when fit.

Up front, there is the danger of Ayew or Borja moving on. The Ghanaian has been in very good form and could be attracting interest. He is far too good for the second tier. Borja's spell on the bench could see him seek pastures new, although there has been little if anything to indicate that either are seeking an exit. If anything, their respective body language and performances on the pitch suggest the opposite, but Swansea should be prepared for all scenarios, especially if a sizeable financial package was placed on the table. 

To lose one of them in January would be a blow to their play-off chances, no question. A terminal one? If Ayew were to depart, quite possibly.

The bottom line is, Swansea have a great chance of being in the promotion conversation come May. Cooper and his team have proved their recruitment credentials once - giving them the opportunity again in January could be the difference.