SWINDON Wildcats head coach Ryan Aldridge said that Alex Symonds is a player that he could not do without next year after confirming his return to the Link Centre.

The Welsh D-man has put pen to paper to secure a return to Cats as they look to improve next term following a fine 2013-14 season in the EPL.

And Aldridge has also been able to confirm the return of netminder Stevie Lyle as he completes the final season of his two-year deal.

“Alex is a guy I just had to have back,” Aldridge told the Adver. “You could see in the games he was out injured that we missed him.

“Symo is a great guy to have around the dressing room, he had a great year last season and is a big part of what we are trying to do here.”

Aldridge also hailed his star netminder after he committed to the club for what is likely to be his last after Lyle told the Advertiser last month that he would probably retire at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

“Stevie was on a two-year deal so it was just simply getting it confirmed that he was coming back for his second year,” the Cats head coach said.

“He was phenomenal last year so to have him back is great.”

Lyle added: “They (the talks) were a bit of a formality really as there wasn’t too much to discuss as I wanted to be here at Swindon and Ryan wanted to keep me here.

“I enjoyed last season with the club and we had a really strong last couple of months and if we can keep a good solid core, I’m sure we can carry that on next season.”

Lyle and Symonds follow former Czech Republic international Jan Kostal in committing to Cats’ cause.

Kostal was the first to put pen to paper and he has also joined the coaching team at the Link Centre.

And with three players on board for the new campaign which gets underway in the autumn, Aldridge is hopeful that other will soon follow suit, while admitting there could be several departures.

“I’m getting pretty close with quite a few guys now,” he said. “Hopefully, will be able to announce them soon.

“But it is also human nature that people move on, although I’m hopeful that the majority of last season’s squad will remain.

“Over the next few weeks the squad will start to develop more.”