ENGLAND coach Andy Flower is confident he has the right men in position to raise their game when required against South Africa this winter.

Question marks remain over the current form of Ian Bell and opener Alastair Cook.

But Flower has no qualms about the capability of either to make significant contributions to England's bid for success in the ongoing four-Test series.

Cook, in particular, has endured a fallow period at the top of the order - with just one half-century in his last 11 Test innings, dating back to his big hundred against West Indies at Chester-le-Street in May.

He has, however, already been named England's vice-captain - and should Andrew Strauss be unavailable at any point, Cook would be the obvious candidate to deputise.

Flower believes his former Essex team-mate has shown plenty of signs that he is as ready as ever to make a big score for his country.

"Cooky scored runs for the performance squad and in (tour matches at) East London too,’’ Flower pointed out, as he and his England team relaxed before returning in earnest tomorrow to their preparations for the second Test at Kingsmead.

Cook made 12 and 15 in his two attempts as England scrambled a draw in the series opener, and Flower said: "He's had a tough Test at Centurion - it was a tough test for anyone against that new ball in those conditions.

"Yes, he's remodelled a few things.

"But he's a (mentally) strong young man, a very fine player and a leader in his own right.

"I think he's going to do good things for us this series.’’ Flower was also full of praise for off-spinner Graeme Swann, who has had a fairytale first year in Test cricket - having been out of the England reckoning for almost a decade since he was picked to tour South Africa under the Duncan Fletcher regime in 1999-2000.

Thirty-year-old Swann contributed with bat as well as ball in the first innings at Centurion, taking five wickets and making a career-best 85.

"Since he started playing Test cricket, he's made a serious impact and seems to be going from strength to strength,’’ said Flower.

"With the ball, he's very reliable and on occasions much more than that - he can be dangerous.

"He is certainly dangerous with the bat, as a lower-order striker - and he's a great guy to have around our team.

"He's a very positive thinker, very lively and has lots of energy - and in a four-man bowling attack he is very important.’’