STEVE Nell says this season's Wildcats team is the best he can remember during his tenure and has challenged the players to achieve a top-four finish in the English Premier League.

The general manager is convinced that tweaks made to the squad over the summer have left Swindon in an advantageous position ahead of their season opener at home to Manchester tomorrow (5.45pm). He said: “We've got in my opinion the best team we've had since we started. It's our eighth or ninth season together now and this is the best team we've had by far.

“We've kept the nucleus of the team from last year and we've added two new imports (Michal Kapicka and Matias Perkkio), who we hope will be good additions. “We're really pleased with what we've done and not to put anyone under any pressure, but we're aiming for a top-four finish.

“That's where I think this team will be if everyone plays and everyone does their job on and off the ice.”

Cats head coach Ryan Aldridge is in agreement with Nell as to the firepower possessed by the Link Centre side this term, and admitted the upper echelons of the table should be the target.

“I strongly believe we've got our best team,” he said.

“The addition of the two Welsh lads (Jamie Hayes and Chris Jones) and taking me off the ice is a massive move for us, it's going to make us a lot stronger.

“Replacing (Michal) Pinc and (Jaroslav) Cesky with the two new imports is another massive step in the right direction. Their characters and their professionalism is completely different to the last two.

“I sat down and wrote all the teams out - where they were last year and where we were last year, players they had brought in and players we had brought in - and we've got to be up there.”

Swindon's players have been given a financial incentive to perform well in this season's EPL Cup, with bonuses being given out if the Wiltshire side make the knockout stages.