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For a man who stands at 6ft 7in, Dennis Lawrence is used to looking down at everyone else and believes Swansea City have what it takes to stay at the top of League One ahead of tomorrow's trip to Bristol Rovers.


The giant centre-back has been a towering figure at the heart of Swansea's stingy defence this term. They would give Scrooge a run for his money this season with their miserly defence, and in doing so have played an integral role in the club's rise to top spot.

For a team that has welcomed two new additions to their back line in Dutch keeper Dorus de Vries and Spanish right-back Angel Rangel, things could not have gone more smoothly for Roberto Martinez's side.

De Vries has been a revelation between the sticks since his arrival from Dunfermline and the former Holland Under-21 shot-stopper has already been tipped to go as far as he wants by his manager.

Another astute signing saw the arrival of Martinez's countryman Rangel, who seems to be improving by the game.

With a slight shake-up in the department, it was crucial that the likes of Lawrence, skipper Garry Monk, Alan Tate, Marcos Painter and Kevin Austin kept their house in order as soon as possible.

Test passed then with 18 league games gone. Just 16 goals have gone in during that period and Lawrence deserves a pat on the back for his role in that. It's no coincidence that Swansea's top four starters this season have been De Vries, Monk, Rangel and Lawrence - consistency in selection paying off, perhaps.

The former Defence Force defender - a national hero in Trinidad & Tobago for ensuring qualification to World Cup 2006 with a goal against Bahrain a couple of years ago - has put together some of his best performances recently since joining from Wrexham in the summer of last year.

After a shaky start with the club, Lawrence had been the centre of some criticism from the stands but under Martinez he has grown considerably.

Solid performances against Tranmere and most recently Northampton has ensured that Lawrence is very much in favour. Partnerships with both Monk and Tate this season have seen Swansea remain tight at the back, and Lawrence relishes the challenge that lies ahead.

Top of League One, Swansea are there to be shot at now with all teams gunning to knock them off their perch. Tuesday night's 3-0 victory over Northampton was a huge boost for Swansea's home form, and particularly pleasing for the back division as they celebrated their ninth clean sheet of the campaign.

And Lawrence insists that a positive attitude will go a long way to helping the club achieve its goal of automatic promotion.

"It is up to us to maintain the standards we have set and keep a positive frame of mind," said Lawrence, who has clocked up 20 appearances already this season. "The win over Northampton was one of those games where things went well for us.

"The team was well prepared and we got a good result.

"Things are going well for the team at the moment and obviously we want to take that into the next game.

"It's good to be on top and it is easier to defend when you're at the top rather than chasing the top team.

"We seem to be doing well enough away from home and Bristol Rovers will have to come at us. The best thing is that we go into it with positive thoughts and that can only help us."

Fellow countryman Jason Scotland reached double figures with his two goals in Tuesday's victory, and the target for Lawrence is to help the defence to a tenth shutout of the season.

And while he plays his part at the back, he expects Scotland to continue his goalscoring feats at the other end.

"Jason has done well since he arrived in the summer," said Lawrence. "I told him to keep his head down and do what he does best, and that's scoring goals. We have seen what he can do and I think there's plenty more to come.

"I have plenty of faith in his ability and for those who didn't know much about him when he arrived, they certainly know a lot about him now.

"My job though is to concentrate at the other end of the field and we seem to be doing well at the moment. There will be times when things do not go for us.

"We know we can adapt to different types of games. On Tuesday we came out and enjoyed a good performance with plenty of possession and goals while against Tranmere it was different - we had to dig deep and defend what we had."

So, what of the trip to the Memorial Ground?

"I don't want to use the word confident, but we are positive going there," added Lawrence.

"It's a tough place to go and for us it's all about picking up points and continue what we are doing."