SWINDON Wildcats head coach Aaron Nell is looking forward to his side challenging themselves against the best team in the National Ice Hockey League this weekend – Leeds Knights.

The Wildcats are in fifth place and can all but wrap up that position with a win over Leeds on Saturday and the sixth-place Raiders on Sunday.

Having already inflicted one of only eight defeats for the Yorkshire outfit this season from three attempts, Swindon will know it is possible for history to repeat itself.

But Nell says all he will be asking his players to do is give their best and hope that it is enough to breed further confidence ahead of the upcoming play-offs.

Nell said: “It will be a real test of our mettle this weekend, and these are the types of games you look forward to playing in.

“You want to challenge yourself against the top team in the league. Leeds have had an incredible season with how consistent they’ve been. I think they’ve only lost eight games over the whole season, so it will be a big test for us, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.

“We want to really test ourselves over the next few weeks and see how we weigh up against Leeds.

“They will be the team to beat in the play-offs, and if we are fortunate enough to go through from the quarter-finals then we are likely to play Leeds in the semis.

“If we win, we’ll obviously be very happy, but we won’t take too much from it and think we can easily do it again the next time.

“But we’ve been really good against the top teams this year, and we’re really looking forward to the game on Saturday night.”

After facing Leeds, the Wildcats will be hoping to extend the 10-point gap they hold over the Raiders with a victory in Romford on Sunday.

Nell is aware of the form Swindon’s opponents are in, but believes the Wildcats’ outstanding recent run means his players will not suffer from any kind of intimidation.

He said: “The Raiders play with lots of energy. They’re the team just behind us, so we want to win on Sunday to pretty much solidify fifth place.

“They’re a team which has had a really good second half of the season – like us – and they beat us the last time we played each other, so we want to make sure we put in a good performance this time. If we do that, hopefully we can pull off a big win.”