DEFENCEMAN Tomas Fojtik has handed Swindon Wildcats a boost ahead of this weekend’s double-header with Sheffield by verbally agreeing to remain at the Link Centre for the remainder of 2013/14.
The giant Czech joined on a temporary basis five weeks ago as head coach Ryan Aldridge moved to cover a raft of absences and he will now stay for the rest of the regular season and potentially the play-offs.
“Tomas will be on board for the rest of the year,” confirmed Aldridge.
“He will bring some different elements to our line-up - maybe we will have two import D one night and one import D another night. There’s lots of angles to go against different teams.
“He’s excited to come in and help us until the end of the year and there’s pressure on our Brits to be good now.
“We’re looking at every way to make this team play better.”
Fojtik was Swindon’s defenceman of the year in 2012/13 but made the switch to Slough in the summer after Aldridge elected not to bring him back to Wiltshire.
The 29-year-old was released at the end of October having iced just 11 times for the Jets, and returned to the Link Centre shortly after.
Based in Swindon, Fojtik has been absent for much of the festive season due to returning to his homeland for Christmas and now must clock up 15 games before the end of the campaign in order to become eligible for the play-offs.
His involvement will be a boost to a Wildcats team that were informed of their duties in no uncertain terms by Aldridge on Tuesday, after they slipped out of the EPL play-off spots last weekend.
When asked what his message to the players had been during the midweek meeting, Aldridge said: “Do or die. It was a bit of a serious chat.
“It was me telling them that I want effort for 60 minutes. These are three big games this week and there’s too many guys taking nights off.
“We just didn’t play in that middle period on Sunday (in the 6-3 loss to Manchester) and everyone was looking for an excuse and looking to blame someone else.
“The players reacted well to it and we had a good practice on Tuesday where all the players worked hard.
“It’s in their hands now and I’m sure we will get a good reaction on the ice.”
Swindon have a 2-1 winning record over Sheffield so far this season and will be hopeful of improving those numbers this weekend.
“We match up pretty good against them as long as we stay away from the rubbish and play high intensity hockey,” added Aldridge.
“The bottom line is that we have to play for 60 minutes. We know we’re going to score goals but we can’t be letting six in a game.”
- Follow live updates from Sunday’s clash against Sheffield at www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk.