SWINDON Wildcats head coach Aaron Nell says his team must not look ahead to playing table-topping Leeds Knights on Sunday a second before the final buzzer sounds against bottom side Hull Pirates on Saturday night.

Nell’s men face contrasting tests over the next couple of days, with a Hull side which has only won seven of its 36 matches up first, followed by a Leeds team who – before last weekend’s shock double defeat – had only lost one game all season, and that came against the Wildcats.

But with a dubious record against teams in the bottom four this term, Nell knows his squad cannot afford to count their chickens before they have hatched on home ice.

Nell said: “Our record against the top teams is actually better than our record against the bottom teams this year, and that’s so frustrating.

“The two games coming up are very different, but we’ve got to be completely thinking about Hull coming into Saturday.

“As soon as we forget about Hull before Saturday’s game has finished, we’ll lose. We have to be really focused on them because they’ve got some really good imports.

“The one import, Emil Svec, was with us last season, and it’s his first game against us this season so he’s going to be ready.

“They’ve got a good goalie and some other really good players too, so we’ve got to be ready.”

Potentially central to any success Swindon could have this weekend, Tomasz Malasinski will be looking to close in on the Knights’ Grant Cooper at the top of the National Ice Hockey League’s top point-scorer chart.

Malasinski is second in the table with 65 points, and Nell – who is three years the Pole’s junior – cannot help but be impressed by the dedication on show.

Nell said: “Tomasz has been our one consistent this year. We know how great he is, and he has high expectations of himself.

“He knows he has to be great more often than not, and this year he’s flying. It’s certainly the best hockey he’s played since he’s been back with us.

“The first time he was here, he was really good. The year before he left, I thought he was the best player in the league at that point. He’s back to that level, in my view.

“To be doing that at 36 years old is quite remarkable. It shows just how much he cares and how much he wants to do well.”