THE Bespoke Guardians Swindon Wildcats can cement fifth place in the National Ice Hockey League on Saturday night with a victory over Bristol Pitbulls while also ending their-arch rivals’ season early.

While Aaron Nells’ men know they will be facing Sheffield Steeldogs in the play-off quarter-finals early next month, Bristol face a win-or-bust situation to even make the top eight in their debut year.

The Pitbulls trail eighth-place Telford Tigers by seven points with four games to go each, making their equation very simple.

But standing in Bristol’s way is a Swindon side high on confidence and in reasonably good form since the turn of the year.

Nell says his team is aware of the threat a “desperate” Pitbulls side will hold but insists the Wildcats have their own motivations.

He said: “If my maths are correct, Bristol have to win their last four games and hope other results go their way to make the play-offs. We know they’re going to be desperate.

“It’s a rivalry that’s developing, and we know they had the better of us at the start of the season. But we’ve won two of the last three, and we want to win on Saturday night to even up the season series.

“Games against Bristol are always good, and we have to expect them to be a desperate team still fighting to make the play-offs.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of just trying to beat them on Saturday night.”

After sweeping Bristol in the pre-season games, Swindon lost the early meetings against the Pitbulls and consequently trail 3-2 in the five competitive fixtures this term.

Nell insists the Wildcats’ driving force is to square the season series as opposed to trying to prevent their rivals from making the top eight in their first full campaign.

He said: “With the games at the start of the year, Bristol were more up for them than we were. That’s why they won like they did.

“But in the last few times we’ve played them, we have been better. We need to make sure that we match their intensity and their work rate on Saturday.

“I believe that we will do that, and if we know that if we do that and play well against anyone at home, we can win.

“If we knock them out of the play-offs, it doesn’t really make any difference to us. We just want to have a good game on Saturday night and get a win.”