SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell says his team are yet to hit top gear ahead of their National League double-header against Basingstoke Bison this weekend.

Following a mixed pair of results last weekend where the Cats beat London Raiders in overtime before going down by a goal away at Bracknell Bees, Nell’s men are still five points behind league leaders Telford Tigers.

Swindon’s title rivals have lost three in a row now, and the Cats’ player-coach believes now may be the time to strike as Telford attempt to recover from a wobble in form.

With 11 games to go, Swindon are running out of time to claim the league title, but Nell feels his team have one more gear to go through.

And if they can find it soon, the Cats may be able to defend the crown they ran away with last season.

Nell said: “I feel that as a group, we have another gear that we can hit.

“This is the time to hit that top gear and go on a run.

“It’s my job and the other coaches’ job to get that extra gear out of the players.

“I do think we’ve got it in us, we’ve just got to try and hit it.

“Telford are obviously still in a great spot, but we just need to make sure that if they slip up, we’re there to swoop in and close the gap.

“We’ve got a very difficult set of fixtures remaining, but if we take it a game at a time and hit that other gear, I know we can have some success come the end of the season.

“It’s not going to be easy though – we have some tough fixtures, and this weekend will be no tougher.”

Swindon will enter the double-header off the back of a frustrating 3-2 defeat away to Bracknell and a battling 5-4 victory over the Raiders at the Link Centre.

Nell was pleased with his team’s performances in both games despite the Cats coming from a seemingly impossible position to haul themselves level with less than 30 seconds remaining on home ice.

The player-coach knows that his players will have to kick it up a notch this weekend though if they are to take any points.

Nell said: “It was frustrating not to win twice – on Saturday, we came back at the end and that was good for morale to be able to win like we did.

“But Sunday, their goalie was excellent, and they scored in the last 10 minutes.

“When it’s a one-goal game, it’s very frustrating to lose but we’ve just got to look ahead to this week and be better.

“Basingstoke is a team that always plays well against us, and the games against them are always really good games – I expect no different this weekend.”