SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell says his side have earned the right to be the envy of all of their NIHL South One rivals despite seeing their title celebrations put on ice last weekend.

The Cats could have clinched a maiden league crown in their current guise with victory at home to Streatham last Saturday – only for the Londoners to spoil the party at the Link Centre by inflicting a 4-3 defeat.

However, the Cats remain at the top of the table and knew only one win was required over their final three fixtures to wrap up the title, so hope to finish the job this weekend when they round off their regular season programme with a home match against Bracknell Bees on Saturday night before making the trip to Milton Keynes Thunder 24 hours later.

Swindon’s stranglehold on the top of the table is as a result of a superb 15-match winning run put together by the side recently, which was only ended by that shock Streatham loss last time out.

Nell says the exceptional form shown by his side throughout 2019 has earned them multiple cracks at wrapping up the championship crown – and has backed them to finish off the job this weekend.

“There are a very good group of lads in our locker room. They were devastated after last Saturday’s result, but when we get together, we will talk about the fact that we are still in a great spot,” said Nell.

“All seven other teams in the league would like to be in the position we are. We know everything is still on our hands.

“We have earned the right to have more than one go at it, and all the credit goes to the players.

“Before Christmas, no one expected it to be like this. The way the players have played in recent months has given us the opportunity to have three goes at finishing the job.

“We have only got two left now but we just have to go at it like any other weekend and try to get that last point we need.

“We have to get back to playing our best hockey. If we do that over two nights this weekend, I believe we will be league champions.”

A defeat for nearest rivals Peterborough Phantoms last weekend has actually made the task ahead of Nell’s side even easier as they only need to take one match to overtime to claim the point they need for title glory.

Nell concedes there has been disappointment in the camp at a missed opportunity but says the clear incentive ahead of his side will make it easy to shake off.

“We are disappointed we didn’t win last Saturday, like we would be after any game, but the reality is that we have got three opportunities to try to finish the job and win the league,” said Nell.

“And we actually got closer to where we want to be than where we had been before the weekend with Peterborough losing.

“I was disappointed to lose the game last weekend but it’s not the end of the world – we have still got two more chances.”