A YEAR after he was forced to go under the knife to recover from a dislocated shoulder, Swindon Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell believes he is slowly but surely getting back to his best.

The 28-year-old’s season was curtailed by the injury he sustained in last year’s 2-1 defeat to Basingstoke Bison at the Link Centre, before undergoing his operation a few days later on Friday, November 25.

The injury meant the Wildcats chief was restricted to coaching duties for the remainder of the year, before making a return to the ice at the start of this season.

However, after a slow start, Nell believes he is slowly getting back to last year’s level of performance.

Nell scored three goals in last weekend’s double triumph and believes he will soon be back to his best as the Cats prepare to face Invicta Dynamos on home ice this evening.

“The shoulder is getting better, I wouldn’t say that I’m quite where I want to be yet, I’m working to get it to where I want. I feel a lot sharper, it is getting there,” he said.

“I knew that it would take a while, I hoped that it wouldn’t take this long, but I’m getting there.

“You always want to keep on improving, it’s feeling a lot better and I’m starting to score so that is good. You always want to improve so I feel like I am getting there.”

Last weekend, the Cats were successful both home and away as they collected their second four-point haul in as many weeks.

This weekend, they host Invicta tonight in NIHL One South before heading to Telford Tigers in the NIHL Cup on Sunday in what will be Sam Zajac’s last game for the club.

With Zajac’s departure looming, Nell has handed a harsh reminder to his side that they all need to improve in order to cope with the 28-year-old’s exit.

“The plan is to keep the run going this weekend. We have a big game against Invicta on Saturday night and we know we have to pick up our league form,” the player-coach said.

“Saturday is a great chance for us to be able to do that.

“Sammy has been great for us while he has been here but we want to make sure he finishes off with a winning weekend. It’s hugely important that we all step up now as not one player is going to be able to replace Sam.”