SWINDON Wildcats have been dealt an injury blow just days before their pre-season schedule is due to get underway.

Star import Tyler VanKleef – previously of EIHL giants Nottingham Panthers – has suffered a leg injury and will be out for at least a month.

It means the 27-year-old left-shooter will miss Wildcats’ first competitive round of fixtures towards the end of September as well as the club’s four pre-season games against Bracknell and Telford.

Player-coach Aaron Nell is already searching for a replacement that can fill VanKleef’s void while he recovers.

And he hopes to have something sorted as early as this weekend.

He said: “We’re looking at all options, we’re hoping to have something sorted by this weekend – but we’re not 100 per cent sure what will happen at this moment.

“We can’t not replace him, hopefully he is back as soon as possible.

“The strength in depth we do have always helps when it comes to injuries though.”

Meanwhile, fans will have their first chance to meet the 2019-20 Wildcats roster this weekend at a launch event being held at the Link Centre.

Players including Sam Bullas, Edgars Bebris, Tyler Plews and Renny Marr will take to the ice from 1.45pm on Sunday, September 1, before a BBQ is held at 3pm across from the rink at the Harvester.

Fans’ favourite Tomasz Malasinski arrived from Poland on Wednesday afternoon while Scottish skaters Renny Marr and Tyler Plews are due to arrive in Wiltshire on Friday.

The prospect of another season in the National League is now becoming rather real for coach Nell.

He added: “When they all start to move down, it gets very real.

“It’s an exciting time with all the equipment coming in, things are busy right now.

“The team will enjoy a night away on Saturday as a group, and Sunday is there chance to meet all of the fans and sponsors to kick start the season.”