DEFENCEMAN Neil Liddard insists Swindon Wildcats’ strength in depth will pay dividends in the latter months of the season ahead of tonight’s home tie against Milton Keynes Thunder.

The Wildcats recorded a timely four-point weekend against title chasing Basingstoke Bison and Peterborough Phantoms last week – results that promoted Aaron Nell’s side to the top of the NIHL One table.

After being without key players Floyd Taylor and Adam Harding in the weeks prior to last weekend’s double success, experienced Liddiard believes the Link Centre outfit’s depth can help the Wildcats push for the league title.

He said: “The two new defencemen (Tyler Plews and Sam Jones) have slotted in perfectly. It’s granted our team three solid men in defence which is huge.

“Strength in depth goes a long way, especially when it gets to the business end of the season.

“When you’re short of players it does take its toll, and it can make for a long season.

“If you want to win the league, you’ve got to be up there competing with those teams that are gunning for the title as well.

“Last weekend we picked up four massive points, especially to go to Peterborough and play the way we did.

“That was a huge confidence boost for us.

“It did feel like we were in control throughout the game. You get that feeling sometimes, and I never felt like we were going to lose that game.

“The result will no doubt put a dent in their confidence, especially as they were playing in their own rink.

“Peterborough is always a tough place to go and win, hopefully we can go on a bit of a run now.”

Wildcats will be aiming to add a further four points to their already impressive league tally this weekend when welcoming MK Thunder to the Link Centre tonight before travelling east to face Bracknell Bees tomorrow.

Despite Milton Keynes’ record of just two wins from their opening 14 league matches, Liddiard believes approaching every game with the same mentality will help performing at 100 per cent become second nature to Wildcats’ roster.

He said: “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we need to approach both games with the same mentality and aim to pick up two points.

“Whether we play Invicta, Milton Keynes or Peterborough – every team needs to be respected.

“Milton Keynes have had their moments and will come out hard.”

One shining light from Swindon’s season thus far has been forward Toms Rutkis, who Liddiard praised ahead of tonight’s game.

He said: “Toms (Rutkis) is a skilled player, but he also goes to those dirty areas of the ice that other players might not like to put themselves in.”