AARON Nell says Swindon Wildcats will need to be at their best if they are to narrow the gap on one of the two teams above them in the table tonight, WRITES NEIL BECK.

While the in-form Cats host Streatham Redhawks at the Link Centre, NIHL One South leaders Peterborough Phantoms will travel to a Basingstoke Bison side sitting in second position.

The Cats are three points behind the latter, who make the trip to Swindon in seven days’ time, and player-coach Nell has urged his men to seize their big opportunity to make further ground in the race for the title.

“It’s massive,” said Nell. “We have dropped more points than both Peterborough or Basingstoke so far this season but one of them will lose on Saturday.

“If we can be successful then it will keep up the pressure and we can do that by playing as we have done for the past six weeks.

“We don’t play Peterborough again this season but we have to play Basingstoke twice more and we’ve just got to keep pushing and hope one or two of the other teams can do us a favour.”

Since the turn of the year, the Cats have won 12 of their 15 matches – a run that stretches back to a 6-2 defeat away to the league leaders two days before Christmas.

Nell said: “That game was a wake-up call for a lot of people. We’ve had a lot of games since then and it can go one of two ways, but we’ve have success during that busy period and we want that to continue.”

Floyd Taylor will return to the Cats squad after recovering from illness and Nell has a full roster to choose from for the visit of a Streatham side who lie in sixth position in the table.

The Cats had mixed fortunes on their two trips to face the Redhawks in south London back in October, winning the first meeting 2-1 and losing 5-1 the second time around, but have yet to meet them on their own ice.

“I think they’re a good team and when they beat us last time you could see that they would start moving up the table,” said Nell.

“They work really hard and are tough to play against so we will need to be at our best if we want to win.

“It’s a one-game weekend and everybody gets Sunday off, so we’ve just got to leave it all out there on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Swindon have confirmed their NIHL Cup semi-final at home to Telford Tigers will take place on Wednesday, February 14 (7.30pm).