JAMIE Hayes is looking forward to life back in the English Premier League after a season in the tier below.
The 22-year-old forward spent last year with his home town team of Cardiff in the English National League, racking up impressive numbers in the process.
And with 43 goals and 41 assists in 35 games in 2011/12, Hayes feels upbeat ahead of his third stint at Wildcats.
“Last year I took a step back to the ENL and I did pretty well there,” said the Welshman.
“I think it did help my confidence. My game changed a lot and it helped me out because I played a lot more and progressed. I did pretty well on the points during the season.
“I came up here in the summer and had a training session with Ryan (Aldridge, Swindon head coach), and after that he gave me a call and asked if I wanted to play for Swindon again. “I took him up straight away, because I always enjoyed it when I played here before and I knew what it was like.”
Hayes believes Swindon have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season and says an impressive campaign could see them break into the top four.
“We seem pretty strong at the back and we have a strong bunch of forwards as well,” he continued.
“No one wants to be at the bottom of the league or close to the bottom, but with the team we’ve got I think we’re going to be near the top.
“I think we can be a top-four team, with the bunch of guys we’ve got here, there’s no reason why we can’t be.”
Hayes spent his junior ice hockey years at various Cardiff teams before first joining Swindon for the 2006/07 season.
He went back to Cardiff in the EIHL in 2009/10 before returning to the Wildcats the following year.
Last season he played for Cardiff in the ENL but is now back at Swindon in the EPL.