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SWINDON WILDCATS: Cats have the fear factor
THE eyes of Swindon’s players have been opened following Wildcats’ victories over the high-flying duo of Basingstoke and Guildford.
That is the opinion of head coach Ryan Aldridge, who says his troops now know what they are truly capable of in the EPL.
Swindon began the season in modest form but the last two results have catapulted the Link Centre side up to a total of eight points, leaving them just three points off top spot.
And while they still might find themselves eighth in the table, Aldridge is comfortable with the place his side are in at present.
“Maybe it was a good thing for us to start the year like that, it made us aware of what we have to do to be successful,” he said.
“Players at other teams are scared of us now, they are talking about how hard we play and work.
“I think it’s a big message to us that this is what we can do. This is what we planned in the summer when we were signing the team.
“There’s a belief now in the locker room that we are what we set out to be. We are the only ones that can make us successful.”
Swindon begin their weekend at home to Sheffield tomorrow, a side who adopted a physical approach to the teams’ previous encounter, which Aldridge was not overly-enamoured with.
In that opening weekend clash, Wildcats lost 5-4 in overtime and the head coach is targeting revenge on home ice.
“We’re only looking for one result,” he said.
“We want to be a successful hockey club and these are the games that will tell us what we’re made of.
“It will be a similar game to last time, but not as bad. We know they will come and play hard and that’s fine. We should feel a bit more comfortable in our own building anyway.
“We know what kind of team they are but referees have to realise what players are doing what on the ice.
“If players have got a past or are known to be a dirty or tough, then referees have to realise that.”
A trip to the Hive is scheduled for Sunday with Bracknell the opponents, and Aldridge expects a tough examination.
“With Bracknell it will be business as usual,” he added.
“We went to watch them against Milton Keynes the other night and they were definitely crawling back into that game (Bracknell lost 4-3).
“They are a good side in their own building and we have to match that.”
Meanwhile, Aldridge has confirmed Czech import Michal Kapicka is available for Saturday’s game, just seven days after suffering the loss of a number of teeth in the 6-2 win over Guildford.
A freak incident saw the forward lose five teeth and part of a sixth when he was caught in the face accidently by a Flames stick.
Kapicka was not wearing a gumshield at the time and he will not have any replacements put in until at least the end of his career, but he could feasibly wear a bridge or a plate until then.
Aldridge said: “He’s had a bit of emergency work done, but he’ll be back in (to play) on Saturday.
“The dentist said she had seen one worse, but for the trauma of the accident it was one of the worst she had seen.
“It’s down to personal choice (whether players wear a gumshield), some guys wear them and some don’t. Some players can’t wear them at all because they just gag.”
Elsewhere, Wildcats D-man Shane Moore looks set to miss this weekend’s games as he is struggling with an ankle problem.