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Aldridge: Now it's time to gel
RYAN Aldridge is unconcerned by the results of Swindon’s challenge matches ahead of the new season, insisting that moulding his side together is far more important.
The Wildcats begin their 2012/13 campaign against Slough at the Link Centre tonight (7.45pm), with another home game against Telford on Sunday (6pm) followed by a trip to Slough on Wednesday.
And head coach Aldridge, who has taken a back seat from playing duties in an effort to fully concentrate on the head coach role, says making his set of players into an effective attacking and defensive unit is his number one priority.
“For me am I looking to win those games? No, I’m looking to get the guys used to each other and overexaggerate on the communication,” he said.
“I want to get the guys talking to each other to help them get ready for the season.
“A couple of wins under our belt going into the league would be a big help, but it’s about getting used to each other, staying injury-free, getting all the little niggles out and getting the legs going.
“Obviously I would like to win, but everything else is more important than that.”
British forward Aaron Nell echoed the sentiments of his head coach, saying: “There’s never any easy games and Slough have got a very new team and are going to want to prove a point.
“It’s pre-season so the score isn’t super-important, but as long as we work hard and get used to each other, hopefully in the first league game we’ll be ready.”
Missing from the action tonight will be 21-year-old netminder Tom Murdy, who is touch-and-go to play in any of the three challenge games.
“He came on the ice in our hockey school and had a little slip, he’s just done his groin, it’s nothing too crazy,” said Aldridge.
“We’re looking at minimal really, a couple of weeks.
“Would we have asked him to play if Skinnsy (Dean Skinns) wasn’t here? Maybe, but it’s not worth the risk.
“He’s a young lad with a great career ahead of him and he can take as long as he needs to because we’ve got Dean here anyway.”
Forward Sam Bullas will also not feature at the Link Centre tonight due to personal reasons, with his return date not yet known.
“It’s going to be week by week, but I honestly couldn’t tell you the timeline,” continued Aldridge.
“He’s committed to playing games but if he can’t make those, his issue I know is more important than that.”
No team captain has yet been selected for 2012/13 with the players having input into that decision in the run-up to the English Premier League opener against Manchester on Saturday, September 15.
This evening’s match, and the clash with Telford on Sunday, will both utilise Wildcats’ ‘Kids Go Free’ promotion.