RYAN Aldridge says injuries are no excuse for Swindon's current form and has urged his players to find an extra gear of energy.
The Link Centre head coach might have been without Joe Baird and Shane Moore of late, cutting Wildcats down to three natural D-men, but he insists his side need to work harder to win EPL games - plain and simple.
Swindon managed just one point from contests against Bracknell and Slough last weekend and the head coach was particularly frustrated by the latter display, in which his side lost 4-1 and rarely looked in the game.
And ahead of this weekend's double-header against Basingstoke, Aldridge says that must change, and quickly.
“I think work ethic was the difference,” said the Wildcats boss, speaking about the Slough defeat.
“They outworked us, they outbattled us, they were hungrier than us and their top guys showed up and scored key goals, and ours didn't.
“Our energy guys didn't have as much as energy as their energy guys and that's what we were looking for.
“Also, if our top guys aren't putting points on the board then they've got to add something else, and if that means energy until they get their scoring touch back, so be it.
“Because we're short of a couple of key players, it's too easy to use that as an excuse right now.
“We've had some unlucky bounces with injuries (netminder Tom Murdy has also been out since the start of the season), but could the score have been different at the end of the first period and the end of the second period? Yes, we had a lot of chances.”
Aldridge added that those elements were also the case in Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss to Bracknell.
He said: “Was having D-men missing on Saturday the difference between us winning and losing the hockey game? No, we were 3-1 up and although Richie (Lee Richardson) was playing defence, he played outstanding.
“Is it tough on the body and hard on the legs? Yes, because we're playing with less numbers, but some guys like it because you're in the game more.
“I don't think it will be too long before they (Baird and Moore) are back anyway, touch wood, and then we've just got to start again, but we've got to grind this out until they are back, stay positive, keep our legs going and work that little bit harder.
“The players should be plenty fit enough by now, but it's that willingness and that work rate, the hunger in their eyes - they must want to do it.”