EPL PLAY-OFFS: Lightning issues won't strike twice warns Nell

Aaron Nell

Aaron Nell

First published in Sport Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy sports editor

AARON Nell is expecting a completely different Milton Keynes Lightning to the one they faced three weeks ago.

As Swindon Wildcats prepare for their EPL play-off double-header with the Coventry-based side, the Great Britain international knows that the 3-0 win at the Skydome on March 9 will count for nothing tomorrow night at the Link Centre.

“They will be a better side than the one we beat 3-0,” Nell said. “This is the play-offs and they will step it up a level.

“But we must do that too. Play-off hockey is the best kind there is and we have to raise our game.

“We are extremely confident at the moment, but we have to keep ourselves on an even keel.

With 30 Wildcats goals to his name this term, Nell is pleased to see players like Sam Smith, Ryan Watt and Sam Bullas play their parts in the season ending seven-game winning streak.

And the Sheffield Steelers forward knows that any success that Cats have this weekend will be built around a solid team defence.

“We have to be solid in defence and build everything around (netminder) Stevie Lyle,” he said. “Stevie has been massive for us and is very difficult to score against.

“But Sam Smith, Ryan Watt and Bully are going to be massive for us as well.

“We have more than just one line of players who can win us games and that will crucial in the play-offs.

“We know that we have the players to score the goals and now we have a solid defence as well.”

Nell is unable to put his finger on why Cats have managed to be so consistent in the final month of the regular EPL campaign, but insisted the side are no longer panicking if they fall behind to an early goal.

“In 90 per cent of the game you play, you will concede a goal,” he said. “Early in the season we were going out and beating teams heavily on a Saturday and then losing on a Sunday.

“It is hard to put your finger on why that was, but we aren’t doing that now.

“But if we can play as a team, keep our belief then hopefully we can start to look forward to the finals weekend in Coventry.”

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