FORM in the build-up to Christmas will certainly not define Swindon Wildcats’ National League title credentials come the turn of the new year.

But a positive run would go a long way in securing the club’s status at the top of the division as title hopefuls Basingstoke, Hull, Peterborough and Telford provide Cats’ opposition over the next fortnight.

Ashley Tait’s Basingstoke Bison are the first of the National League’s chasing quartet to tackle Aaron Nell’s in-form Wildcats.

Bison visit the Link Centre tonight (7.45pm) looking to cast aside fans’ doubts regarding their ability to mix it with the division’s proven top teams after they suffered losses to Bracknell on Saturday and then Hull a day later.

After beating Bison 3-5 at Planet Ice Basingstoke earlier this term, Nell is more than aware of the threats tonight’s visitors pose.

They include former Cats skaters Adam Harding, who was released last season, and Swindon-born skater Oliver Stone – who last iced in red and white in 2018.

“Basingstoke games are always good for the crowds, and hopefully the same applies tonight,” said Nell.

“They had a tough weekend, losing twice. But before that they’ve been strong. They work hard, and when we last met them at home their two imports were injured for large parts of the game.

“They’re a team that I believe plays well in our building. It will be tough.

“Crowds have been great this year, I’d like to think they’ve enjoyed the hockey we’ve played.”

No weekend off has been granted to Aaron Nell’s roster this season.

Instead, they will play one game per week for the next two weekends. Following Bison’s visit tonight, players will enjoy a rare free weekend before Hull Pirates travel down from Humberside a week on Saturday (December 7).

The fixture change has worked in favour of Wildcats, according to Nell.

He added: “We usually have a full week off during the season at some point.

“We can’t that this year, but we only have the one game per week for the next fortnight.

“It’s a lot easier to focus on one game, and they’re both at home. We need to put in two really good performances over the next fortnight against two strong teams.

“Our next four games are against the other top four teams in the league, it will be a key stretch of games for us.”