PLAYER-COACH Aaron Nell believes beginning their preparations for the new season against “favourites” Bracknell Bees is the perfect tune-up for Swindon Wildcats.

Swindon play four challenge matches ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, starting with a meeting against the Bees at the Link Centre tonight before the reverse fixture in Bracknell on Sunday.

The Cats then face the same home and away double-header against Streatham next weekend.

Although victory is not paramount for Swindon at the moment, Nell is eager for his side to get into good habits, and cannot think of a better test than against a Bracknell team he expects to be amongst the leading contenders for honours once the competitive action begins.

“The players are ready and there hasn’t been much change to the roster, so that is good,” said Nell.

“Bracknell have got a very good team and I think they will be one of the front-runners – they are probably the favourites for the league. It will be a good test for us.

“Pre-season is great. If you lose, it doesn’t matter too much, and if you win, it’s great for confidence.

“We’d love to win but it’s more about how we play and how we come together.

“We want to build some momentum as we don’t want to be playing catch-up – we had that last season.

“I think we dropped a point we shouldn’t have in the first weekend last season, and I have talked to the players about being at the front of the pack right from the start and then pushing on.

“Getting a good start is key and hopefully we can be the team people are chasing.”

Swindon enter the new season defending two trophies, having won both the NIHL Cup and Autumn Trophy last term, and Nell wants there to be a fear factor about his side.

He said: “We don’t want to be easy to play against. At the end of last season, not many teams wanted to play us, so we need to carry that on from the start this season.”