SWINDON Wildcats head coach Aaron Nell is hoping a disrupted week of practice will not prevent his side from picking up a first home win in four attempts on Saturday.

A sickness bug has affected multiple members of the Wildcats squad ahead of this weekend’s National Ice Hockey League matches against Telford Tigers and The Raiders.

But Nell – who has himself been troubled by the illness – provided some good news when asked about his team’s overall status.

He said: “We’ve had quite a few people in the team off sick this week, but we expect everyone to be back fit for Saturday.

“We’ll see how practice is on Thursday and Friday, but we expect everything to be OK.”

With a full litter of Wildcats to choose from heading into Saturday’s tussle with the Tigers, Nell is demanding a fast start from his players as they chase a first home win since beating Telford in late October.

He said: “We’ve lost three games in a row at home. We need to put in a big performance for our fans, and we need to start well because we’re putting ourselves in too many holes.

“I know Telford have made a couple of signings recently to what was already a really good team.

“We’ve got to be ready for them, but we’ve also got to think about ourselves and how we’re going to start the game.

“If we play a full 60 minutes then we know we can have success. When we don’t do it we make life really tough for ourselves.”

Confidence in the Swindon camp was boosted by a three-point weekend last time out, with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Sheffield Steeldogs preceding an emphatic away win at the Bees.

Reflecting on the most recent home game though, Nell admitted he experienced mixed feelings over how the game transpired.

He said: “It was a positive weekend, especially given where we were. But again, we put ourselves into a really bad position and were down by three goals.

“We’re putting ourselves into these bad situations, but we’re never quitting. I’d really prefer us to not put ourselves in these positions, but we are showing a lot of character to get back into games.

“Sheffield are the best defensive team in the league – they’ve only conceded five goals in a game once all season before last weekend. We did really well, but it was frustrating that we didn’t win for our fans.”