SWINDON Wildcats forward Sam Bullas believes retaining the core group of players that surged to the NIHL 1 South title last season will help Aaron Nell’s side avoid a slow start to the new National League campaign.

The Wildcats have already announced nine players will be returning to the Link Centre for the 2019-20 National League campaign as well as the select few that signed long-term contracts before the end of the season.

Import player Tomasz Malasinski signed a three-year deal at the Wildcats to bolster their hopes of a strong debut campaign in the new league.

Meanwhile, Bullas, who signed his own multi-year extension in March before the Cats lifted the league title, is optimistic that his team’s lightning start from last year can be repeated thanks to so many familiar faces in the dressing room.

He said: “The team is looking good so far. Aaron has kept the core from last year and we’re building with Tomasz (Malasinski) coming back as well.

“He’s going to be a significant improvement to our squad, and it’s amazing to keep most of the guys together and build on what we had last year.

“The team is coming together nicely, and Aaron is doing a good job. I have confidence in him to build a good team again.

“It’s helpful to have the same core of the team there, especially as we were successful.

“It stops that transitional part of the early season that we are famously poor at.”

And after the Wildcats lifted the first league title under their current guise last season – adding to the Autumn Cup and South Cup trophies they won in 2017-18 – fan-favourite Bullas admits settling for a mediocre campaign is not on his side’s to-do list these days.

He said: “As soon as the previous season finishes, you’re straight into thinking about the next year.

“For us now, it’s about continuing to improve each year and continuing this consistent run we’ve been on. That will be key again this year.

“Three trophies in two years is a hell of an achievement for the club and the taste of silverware is something we’re fond of now.

“As a club, we’ve waited a long time for silverware, and now we’ve got some, all we want to do is win more.”