SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell is thrilled to have Toms Rutkis back in his ranks as his side look to take a step towards the NIHL Cup semi-finals this evening.

Young forward Rutkis, who is on a two-way contract with Cardiff Devils in the Elite League, impressed on his return for the Cats in their 3-3 draw at home to Peterborough Phantoms on Thursday night in the first leg of their Autumn Trophy semi-final.

Although Nell is unsure whether Rutkis will be available to feature in Thursday’s second leg away at Peterborough, the 20-year-old can take to the ice again for Swindon tonight when they host London Raiders in the first leg of their NIHL Cup quarter-final clash.

“We had some communication with Cardiff. They have Saturday off, so Toms will be playing for us then too,” said Nell.

“I knew he would be a big help and he played really well on Thursday and was unlucky not to score.

“You can see his level has gone up and when we can use him, we will.

“Next week is something we need to discuss. We have a good relationship with Cardiff and we knew when he left, he could play for us as long as it worked out for both clubs.”

Chris Jones made a scoring return on Thursday after the Welshman recovered earlier than expected from a broken hand.

However, Nell will be unable to call upon the services of Jordan Kelsall for the time being as the teenager is facing a prolonged absence due to a leg injury sustained whilst training with Nottingham Panthers.

“Jordan hurt himself up in Nottingham this week so he is going to be out but I don’t know how long for,” added Nell.

“It will be a big loss but that happens. It’s part of the game and hopefully we will have him back with us as soon as possible.”

As well as a cup double-header with Raiders this weekend, the Cats also have two league meetings with Basingstoke Bison before the end of the month.

Despite the busy schedule, Nell is looking forward to the crucial period.

“Our next five games are as tough as they come,’ said Nell.

“I think we have a lot of depth and having Toms and Chris back helps.

“These are the games we want to play and we are looking forward to all of them.”