STEVIE Whitfield says that this Swindon Wildcats side is the best that he has ever played with.

With the Link Centre side gearing up for one of the biggest games in the club’s history this afternoon when they take-on EPL champions Manchester Phoenix in the semi-final of the play-offs.

And victory over the Altrincham-based side will put Cats into tomorrow’s finale against either Basingstoke Bison or Guildford Flames, whose semi-final match faces off at 5.30pm today.

Yet despite the pressure that is looming over Swindon’s relatively young side, Whitfield, who has come up through the ranks at Cats, feels they have the squad to be successful this weekend.

“This is probably the best side that we have had since I have been at the club,” Whitfield said. “We have the best goalie (Stevie Lyle), the quality of the imports is incredibily high and the quality of the Brits just gets better and better.

“To get to the play-off finals is a massive thing for us, because we don’t normally get there.

“So this is a great thing for us and it would be great to do it for the fans, Steve (Nell, general manager) and Ryan (Aldridge, head coach) as they put an awful amount of work in.”

Whitfield, who has been with the club since 2005, has echoed his teammates sentiments that Cats are the team no-one will fancy playing this weekend given their recent form.

“We are playing with a lot of confidence,” he said. “We are a lot stronger than we were at the start of the season.

“We are looking quality in defence and we are showing a lot of consistency. Even when we weren’t playing at our best against Milton Keynes we managed to get the win.

“If I was on the other teams I wouldn’t want to be going up against Swindon. We have got some really good younger players and we also have the experience in Stevie (Lyle), Jan Kostal and now Lee (Richardson).”

Since last Sunday’s dramatic 3-1 victory over Milton Keynes Lightning at the Skydome to book Cats place in the last four, the D-man says that this has been one of the longest working week of his life.

“After winning (the quarter-final against Milton Keynes Lightning) on Sunday we celebrated a little before we had our presentation evening on the Monday,” Whitfield said.

“But since then it has been the longest week ever at work, I just can’t wait.

“If we could actually win the whole thing it would mean so much to everyone involved with the club.”