SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell is proud of his side’s superb winning record over the first half of the season, although he admits they are playing catch-up in regard to their league form.

The Cats have headed into the two-week winter break in good spirits, having won 20 of their 25 matches in all competitions so far in 2017-18, earning qualification for the knockout stages of the Autumn Trophy in the process and are on the cusp of doing likewise in the NIHL Cup.

However, Nell’s troops are currently only sitting in third place in the NIHL South One table due to a record of nine wins from 13 league games.

Swindon are five points adrift of pacesetters Peterborough Phantoms, who they face in their first match back after the break when they travel to Planet Ice on December 23.

Second-placed Basingstoke actually boast the strongest league record at present, with 12 wins from their 13 fixtures.

With plenty of matches still to play between now and the end of the regular programme in March, Nell says the Cats have much to look forward to during the second half of the season.

“It has been a tough first half of the season but we have won a lot of games. If you put it all together, across the league and cups, we have probably won the most games out of everyone,” said Nell.

“That is great but we would have liked a couple more wins in the league. Our cup form has been brilliant but in the league, we are two or three points behind where we want to be.

“The second half of the season is going to be very important and hopefully we can drag those points back.

“There is plenty of time on our side and we have got two big games over Christmas against Peterborough and we also play Basingstoke four times in the second half of the season.

“We are still in touch with the teams above us and if win our remaining games against them, we will be in a good spot.

“We are fighting on three fronts and hopefully we will have a few knockout games in the cups to look forward to as well, so it is going to be a busy second half of the season.

“There will be lots of twists and turns and we are looking forward to starting up again next week.”

Swindon have been particularly dominant on home ice, only losing one of the dozen fixtures they have played at the Link Centre so far.

Nell knows it will be crucial his side maintain that level of dominance if they are to achieve their goals for the remainder of the campaign.

“We have been very good at home and our crowds have been good. Hopefully the supporters have enjoyed all the wins we’ve had and there have been some really good games for them to watch too,” said Nell.

“The games will come thick and fast after Christmas and we have got to be ready for each one of them if we are to keep up that good home form.”