SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell says everyone’s focus must be on the National League play-offs now ahead of the club’s final four games of the regular season.

The Wildcats are quickly running out of time to claim the regular season title after dropping seven points behind Telford Tigers following a mixed weekend against Basingstoke Bison.

But while Nell said he would never give up hope of snatching top spot before March 22, the Cats’ head coach is a realist and admits it might be more prudent for his squad to focus all their energy on hitting a sparkling run of form as the play-offs loom.

Ahead of their penultimate round of games against Leeds Chiefs and Peterborough Phantoms – two of the most out of form sides alongside Swindon – Nell has called on his players for one last big effort.

He said: “You can never go into any game presuming you’re going to win. We’ve lost three at home, they’ve been three close games, but losing at home is just something we can’t accept.

“We need to be at our best on Saturday to get a result in front of our home fans. Putting a run together now will be absolutely vital heading into the play-offs.

“We’ve talked as a group in the last few weeks about everything going forward to the play-offs now and getting into a good run of form.

“When we’ve done that in the past, we’ve qualified to go through to Coventry (finals weekend) and that’s been a constant denominator over the last 10 seasons or so.

“We need to try and do that again to make sure we’re ready for the play-offs.”

Nell is keen for his squad to arrest a slide in form that pegs the Cats as the joint-worst team in the league over the last five games.

Upcoming opponents Peterborough have just one more win in that time though after an 11-game winning run ended against Telford in late February.

With two out-of-form teams facing off on Sunday, the Swindon coach is keen to see his squad strike at a vulnerable time for the Phantoms.

Nell said: “It’s been a frustrating few weeks, certainly, but we had a really good result last Friday away at Basingstoke. It was frustrating to lose in overtime in our own rink on Saturday though.

“We played two good games last week, and that was a step forward in my view. There are still points to play for and hopefully we can have success at the end of the year.

“Peterborough were on a big run where they won 11 games in a row throughout February. They were flying, but then they lost their streak, and when that happens you tend to have a couple of weeks after that.

“They lost in the National League cup final during the week, so they’ll be desperate to bounce back and get a big win against us. The games between us and Peterborough have been the best games to watch over the past few years, and I expect no different this weekend.”