PLAYER-COACH Aaron Nell says the club’s season starts now as they look to build an advantage in their opening leg of the Autumn Trophy at Basingstoke Bison.

The Cats travel to Hampshire this evening before welcoming Bison to the Link Centre a week later for the second instalment.

With a trio of the Autumn Trophy, play-offs and the NIHL Cup final to contest, Nell admits the season starts now for his troops, who need to improve on Sunday night’s narrow 3-2 win over London Raiders.

“It’s good to get the youngsters out in the league games, I thought Deakan Fielder and Mickey Power did well on Sunday night,” said Nell.

“It has been a long three weeks and we need to try not to run our top players down to the ground.

“I don’t think we were at a good enough level on Sunday, you can see we were disjointed so that wasn’t good enough and we will have to be better for Friday.

“It’s been a successful three weeks. Obviously, there are a couple of defeats that we want back, but it starts here.

“We have the Autumn Cup final coming up, then we have the play-offs in Coventry, followed by the NIHL Cup final.

“It’s exciting times and we can’t wait to get started now.”

Looking ahead to their clash with Bison, Nell was handed the boost of skipper Jan Kostal being back to full fitness after an ankle problem.

Jordan Kelsall looks set for a return after a month out with a leg injury, he has been given the all clear to return to training by Nottingham Panthers.

Nell reveal a question mark remained over the availability of Toms Rutkis as the club look to plot their way to some silverware.

“Jan is back to 100 per cent, him and Phil Hill were probably our best two players on Sunday, they played really well, and they played well together,” he added.

“At this time of year, you will see the top guys really come to the fore. It is an important time and we know if we play to our best, we have a good chance of being successful.

“I’m not sure if Toms will be around for Friday, I doubt it, we have Jordan Kelsall coming back but I haven’t thought that far ahead with Toms.”