By Paul Jones
Freddie Woodman believes Swansea City have shown they are capable of muscling up this season which has given them a new identity.
Having nurtured a long time reputation as a passing team, Swansea have sometimes been undone in recent seasons by more physical sides and they had a clear previous weakness at set-pieces.
But the Swans goalkeeper reckons his team now possess brawn as well as brains as they target promotion in a brutally demanding season.
Head coach Steve Cooper’s side have had a fine start to the new Championship season and have combined their usual attractive football with new-found defensive grit.
Woodman has kept three successive clean sheets in three straight home wins ahead of Swansea hosting Sheffield Wednesday tonight.
“We’re doing really well at the moment,” said Newcastle loanee Woodman.
“This league can give you challenges with the aerial threat, but we have dealt with them and we need to keep doing that.
“We go into any game wanting to show what we can do with the ball, but you have to be able to do the other side of things too because this game is about what happens in both boxes, not just one.
“It (defence) is obviously important in this league. I think the boys have got a really good attitude towards it and you have seen guys making the effort to be there to make key clearances.”
Woodman has kept six clean sheets from 11 Championship games this season and only Middlesbrough have conceded fewer Championship goals than Swansea.
That’s despite Cooper having lost star Wales centre-half Joe Rodon to Premier League Tottenham Hotspur for £11million.
Swansea have doubts over star man Andre Ayew and defender Marc Guehi for Wednesday and Jordon Garrick and Viktor Gyokeres will be absent after testing positive for Covid-19.
Wednesday will arrive at the Liberty Stadium with a new man at the helm, having sacked former Swans captain and manager Garry Monk and replaced him with Welshman Tony Pulis.
The former Stoke City, West Brom and Middlesbrough manager began his time in charge of the Owls with a 1-0 defeat at Preston, which leaves Wednesday still one from bottom of the table following their six-point deduction for breaking spending rules.
Pulis has been impressed by the impact Cooper has made at the Swans and said: “I think the manager has done an absolutely fantastic job there.
“If you have a look at the recruitment – and let’s not forget the players’ he’s sold as well when he first stepped into the club – it has been very, very good. It suits what Swansea want to do and I think an identity with a football club is very, very important.
“When you look at Swansea and the manager, they have put an identity together and I think he has done an exceptional job.
“I have been there before. I know what it is like.
“I have jumped in at a time where there are going to be some tasty games coming up for us, including my old club Stoke. There are some real tough games ahead.”