Leeds Knights ‘most explosive’ team in NIHL National says Swindon Wildcats boss Aaron Nell

AARON NELL believes Leeds Knights are the ‘most explosive’ team in NIHL National as he prepares his Swindon Wildcats team for a weekend double-header against them.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 5:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 9:58 am
BANG! Swindon Wildcats coach Aaron Nell believes Leeds Knights have proved the most 'explosive' team so far in NIHL National Picture courtesy of Kat Medcroft/Swindon Wildcats

The Knights head down to Wiltshire on Saturday for a second visit of the campaign before heading home to play host to Nell and his players the following day.

The two met in back-to-back pre-season challenge games, both of which the Wildcats edged by the odd goal. But in the Autumn Cup meeting between the two at Swindon’s Link Centre, Dave Whistle’s team enjoyed a commanding 7-3 victory. That weekend proved a watershed for player-coach Nell as his side also lost out 7-2 the following night at Sheffield Steeldogs.

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Since then, he has overseen an upturn in form, culminating with a 4-3 win in a shootout at Telford Tigers last Sunday, bouncing back from a home defeat to the Steeldogs by the same scoreline 24 hours earlier.

The Knights were top scorers in the Autumn Cup group phase, averaging 5.6 goals a game, an output they more or less maintained on the opening weekend of the regular league season when they followed up a 5-2 win at home to Bees IHC with a 5-3 win at Peterborough Phantoms last Sunday.

Nell is aware of the offensive threat posed by Whistle’s team and said his players could not afford to try and match the Knights’ offensive style of play.

“They are an excellent team, the most explosive team in the league,” said Nell. “We know we can’t play the game they want to play, going back and forth, with all their offence, we just can’t do that, we can’t keep up, so we have to find ways to slow them down.

AWARE: Swindon Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell is fully aware of the offensive threat posed by Leeds Knights Picture courtesy of Kat Medcroft/Swindon Wildcats

“They and Sheffield have been the two form teams so far. We’ve got to be smart, play a good defensive game and when we get our chances we’ve got to take them and make sure we control the game as much as possible.

“They’ve blown teams away, they blew us away in that game in Swindon.

WATCH HIM: Kieran Brown is one of Leeds Knights' most potent attacking threats so far this season, scoring Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints

“They’ve got so much offence, so much ability with players like Brandon Whistle and Kieran Brown, that if we get into that back and forth game with them we are going to struggle.”