SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell says his side must react to a ‘very poor’ February after six defeats from nine in the National League.

The Cats’ form has severely damaged the club’s chances of lifting back-to-back league titles despite former runaway leaders Telford Tigers suffering a similarly dour sequence of results.

Nell’s squad is seven points behind the Tigers with a game in hand and half-a-dozen fixtures still to play.

But with time running out to catch the champions elect, Swindon must navigate tricky double-headers against fellow title rivals Basingstoke Bison and Peterborough Phantoms before the season is out.

Starting with Basingstoke tonight, Nell knows results cannot continue in a similar vein if his team is to overcome the team above.

He said: “We’ve got no choice but to respond in a positive way at this point in the season.

“We had a very poor February results-wise, and the performances were not there either.

“March is a new month, we’ve got to push forward and get going – we’ve got no choice but to do that.

“The league is still very much in Telford’s hands because they’ve done really well over the last two weekends to put themselves in a good position.

“All we can do is focus on ourselves and how we’re playing – that starts tonight in Basingstoke.

“We’ve got some tough games left to go still, but if we have a good end to the year and Telford struggle then we might pip them, but it’s all in Telford’s hands.”

With so many potential distractions around for his players, Nell has implored his squad to simply focus on the next game on their schedule.

A pair of games against a team with whom the Cats share a 3-3 record over the season is the best tonic for their recent troubles, according to Nell who says a competitive fixture against a relatively local rival will help to bring out the best in each of his players.

He said: “Basingstoke always play very well against us and they’ve won four in a row since we beat them a couple of weeks back.

“It’s two teams on different ends of the form table, so we need to arrive there on Friday and play a very smart game.

“They’re going to be really hungry to beat us because if they beat us twice this weekend they will go above us in the league.

“We have to fight them off and show Basingstoke what we’re all about.

“We’ve done in it spurts before, and the two games we played against Basingstoke were two of our better games of the season.

“We will have to repeat those levels this weekend.”