THE arrival of towering forward Sam Smith for the 2013/14 campaign is ‘massive’ for Swindon, according to head coach Ryan Aldridge.

Smith, who made four appearances for the Wildcats in 2006/07, has penned a one-year deal at the Link Centre and become the eighth signing unveiled by the club since the beginning of April.

The 21-year-old has played in the Elite League for the last three seasons with Cardiff and latterly Coventry, meaning Swindon now boast three forwards for 2013/14 with recent Elite League experience, the others being Matt Towe and Adam Harding.

That is key for Aldridge, who has lost the services of the EPL’s top goalscorer in 2012/13 in Aaron Nell, and is looking to replace the points he would have got from the now-Sheffield Steelers man.

“Sam is a big signing for us and especially after bringing Matt Towe into the line-up, to get another top forward is massive,” said Aldridge.

“People are talking about us replacing Aaron and maybe their points production can help us with that.

“To get someone to drop down is always a big plus. He’s coming down from the Elite League so he’s got that level of professionalism you have to have to be successful.”

Smith’s sizeable 6ft 3in frame might suggest that his game is all about industry, but Aldridge is quick to point out that fundamentally the Oxford-born man is about goals and assists.

Although totalling a modest 14 points in 38 appearances at Coventry last year, Smith racked up 58 points in 118 matches for Cardiff in the two seasons previous to that.

“He played a big part in the Elite League team at Cardiff where he put up huge points,” said Aldridge.

“He’ll finish his hits and be physical, but he looks to put points on the board as well.

“I want to play high-tempo, aggressive hockey and he fits right into that.”

In the 2006/07 season when he briefly represented Wildcats, Smith also made five appearances for Swindon Cougars and turned out for Cardiff Junior Devils.

A three-season spell across the pond with Okanagan Rockets and Dubuque Thunderbirds followed before he returned to the Elite League in 2010/11.

Meanwhile, the England Under 19s side led by head coach Pete Russell and assistant Aldridge stormed to a 7-0 victory over Scotland Under 19s on Friday.

Ollie Betteridge, who played for Wildcats in 2012/13, grabbed a goal and an assist.

Also scoring were Matt Selby (2), Jonathan Kirk, Cam Wynn, Sam Godfrey and Danny Rose.