SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell admits his team will lose more games this season than in the club’s previous two campaigns, meaning character and locker room morale will be more important than ever.

Wildcats welcome Bracknell Bees to the Link Centre this evening to start their pre-season schedule ahead of the newly formatted National League which gets underway in a fortnight’s time.

Hull Pirates, Sheffield Steeldogs, Telford Tigers and Leeds Chiefs are four new teams that Nell’s troops will face throughout their league campaign this season.

As a result, the league is now – without question – far more competitive than what Cats fans have become accustom to in recent seasons.

And Nell has consequently braced his players for the tough times that await his roster between now and the end of March.

He said: “What’s going to happen this year is we are going to lose more games than we have in the past couple of years because of the increased level of skill and quality in the league.

“It’s about how we bounce back from those defeats.

“In certain games, you knew what the result was going to be before both teams had hit the ice, but now, there will be different results all the time.

“After the game, it will be interesting to see what the different scores are, instead of almost knowing what is going to happen.

“It will be a case of who is the most consistent and who manages to bounce back from tough losses the best.”

Regardless of Wildcats’ opposition this season, Nell has been encouraged by the fitness levels that several players have managed to maintain over the summer.

He added: “Three or four of them are looking in the best shape I’ve seen them in since being at the Wildcats.

“The consistency in the league is going to be so much higher this year – for all of the teams, I think the new league set up was needed.

“Over the past two years, we’ve had some great games and some not-so-great games.

“The chance of playing in a consistent league is something every team is looking forward to taking part in.

“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be competitive every night and that’s good for everyone. It’s good for the players and their development, the teams and the fans.”