Wildcats' Aldridge happy with new EPL schedule

Ryan Aldridge

Ryan Aldridge

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

SWINDON Wildcats head coach Ryan Aldridge is determined to see his side get the season off to a good start.

Cats return to action next month with a Challenge Cup clash with Chelmsford Chieftains before a trip to last season’s regular season champions Manchester Phoenix kicks off their league campaign.

And while the Link Centre boss knows that his side have a tough start to the new season, he is keen to build on the momentum Cats built up last term when they won seven matches in a row.

“For me, we need to get off to a winning start - carry on from where we left off last year,” Aldridge said.

“We have got a similar squad to last season and having people like Jani (Kostal) and Henri (Sandvik) back, I think that we’ll have a good chance of getting off to a good start.

“In the past, we have always turned it around after Christmas but we have started like rabbits in the headlights.

“We still have a young squad but with the experienced players like Jani, Henri and the new guy Kenton Smith there, I think that will have a calming influence on the team.”

While happy with how the fixture list has panned out, Aldridge admits that the end of October, where Cats face five games in 11 days, is going to be tough.

During that time, the Link Centre side, starting on October 18, will host Guildford Flames, Sheffield Steeldogs, Basingstoke Bison and MK Lightning with a trip to Bracknell Bees sandwiched inbetween.

“There are always times in the season where you are going to have periods like this,” Aldridge said.

“But every team in the division will have a period like this as well - this is ours.”

With the first challenge match facing off on Wednesday, September 3 against MK Lightning, Aldridge, who completed his business for the summer this week by re-signing young forward Adam Harding on a two-way deal with Elite League side Cardiff Devils, says that the players will be back in pre-season training in the final week of August.

“A lot of the players are already doing their own training, skating on the rinks where they live,” the Cats boss said. “The local lads are doing that here.

“Then we will all get together in the last week of August, start working towards that first challenge match and when we go to Manchester we should be OK.”

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