Reading Rockets (8-5) will be looking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats for the first time this season when they make the short journey to Southampton on Sunday afternoon (3pm tip-off) to take on current NBL Division One league leaders Team Solent Kestrels (10-3). Rockets suffered their second defeat on the spin as they lost a close encounter to Hemel Storm (8-5) last Saturday by 88 points to 81 as they dropped to sixth in the table but still amongst the chasing pack. This Sunday’s opponents snapped their six game winning streak when they lost out reigning champions Team Northumbria 65-86 last weekend but remain top of the pile and undefeated against the Rockets in the two games already this season. Kestrels were victorious in the National Trophy back in September when they took a 93-78 away win before defeating the Berkshire outfit in the National Cup, gaining an 89-67 victory to lead the series 2-0.
Rockets Head Coach Manuel Peña Garcés was not too despondent after Saturday’s loss to Hemel Storm and was pleased with an improved performance from his team but knows the tests keep coming thick and fast with more work to be done on the practice court. The Spaniard said,
This Sunday we have an opportunity to do this against one of the best teams in the league. Solent has done a really good job building a deep roster over the last two seasons and are now really competitive and currently the team to beat. They have talent and cover at every position but are not unbeatable as Northumbria showed last weekend. We will be ready to play a tough game whilst making sure our intent and communication is at its best in what will be an awesome challenge for us.
Rockets go into Sunday’s match-up with the positive news that 6’9 forward Danny Carter will be returning to the squad after a short break. The 29 year old has not featured since early November but is looking forward to being back in action after his time out. Carter will provide some much needed impetus in the front court with American Tim Gill playing extended minutes in the last few weeks. The Berkshire outfit should have a fully fit roster to choose from as Manuel Peña Garcés’ men look to break their duck against Team Solent Kestrels this term and put back to back defeats behind them as they look to keep up the pace at the right end of the NBL Division One table.
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