SWINDON Wildcats must be on their guard and compete from minute one when facing off against Peterborough Phantoms in the Autumn Cup semi-final first leg tonight, according to player-coach Aaron Nell.

Nell’s troops travel to Cambridgeshire this evening ahead of a gruelling three-day schedule, which sees Wildcats return to the Link Centre tomorrow to face Invicta Dynamos before hitting the road again on Sunday when visiting Milton Keynes Thunder.

Despite not tackling the Phantoms this season, Nell has drilled the dangers and threats that Slava Koulikov’s men present.

Nell said: “Peterborough are on a winning streak at the moment, they’re flying and have plenty of confidence.

“We need to go there to play a smart game, weather the early storm and get the best result possible.

“It’s a tough rink to play in – they play well at home and play hard.

“We need to make sure we’re ready to compete hard from minute one, because if you’re not then you’ve got no chance.

“We want to play in the right areas and take our chances when they’re presented to us.”

The Phantoms controversially made progress to the NIHL Play-off Finals Weekend in Coventry last season when defeating Wildcats 9-6 on aggregate, despite only posting six goals themselves while Cats netted 11 times over the two legs.

Swindon were penalised due to the registration of Wildcats youngster Joshua Francis Kelly, who played no part in the first leg of the contest – only watching the game from the bench for experience.

Francis Kelly was later deemed an ineligible player, though – a decision which ultimately ended Wildcats’ play-off dream.

Revenge, therefore, is very much on Nell’s mind.

“The first and second leg of the Autumn Cup semi-final will be two great games – they’re the type of games that every player wants to be involved in,” said Nell.

“I don’t think playing the second leg at home makes for any advantage.

“It’s all about how both teams turn up on each respective night.

“It’s the biggest cliché, but whoever is best over the six periods will have the best chance of advancing.

“We’ll take it one period at a time, we want to keep it close tonight.”