READING Rockets (7-2) will make the long journey north on Saturday to take on Bradford Dragons (3-6) in their final NBL Division One game of 2017 (6.15pm).

Rockets ground out a hard-fought 75-70 victory against Leicester Warriors last Sunday to keep up the pace at the top of the league, and will be hoping to close out the year with a positive result against opponents they have already beaten 95-74 earlier this season.

Head coach Manuel Peña Garcès was relieved to see his team just do enough to win last Sunday’s game, but also had praise for his team as they weathered the Warriors fourth-quarter comeback, an area the Reading team have struggled with of late.

The Spanish play-caller said: “I thought we played well in parts against Leicester, but it was one of those games where we had to really dig deep to come out with a positive result.

"I felt we did that at times which is a good step for us considering the ending we have had in recent games.

“We need to be better with the quality we deliver and be more consistent in the way we do so and that is something that will be key for us after the Christmas break.”

He continued: “This weekend we make the long journey to Bradford to take on a competitive and well-coached team.

“Chris (Mellor, Bradford head coach) always prepares his teams well and at home they are a real threat, so we will need to be ready for the different challenge this game will pose compared to the one last month.

“We will be working on elements of what they will potentially do, but keep the focus on ourselves and being better as we prepare for the last game of this year.”

Rockets go into the game with no new injuries, although they will be without duo Iñigo Perez Baena and Adrian Nosa Castillo who are on Under 18 duty back home in Reading.

The Bradford game is the final time the Reading team will take to the court in 2017 as their scheduled game against Team Solent Kestrels is postponed as the Southampton-based side are in National Cup semi-final action.

Reflecting on the season, Pena Garces admitted: “Overall I am pleased with where we are to date.

“We have had some ups and downs so far this year, but this has provided us all with some positive learning and the necessity to keep working and building throughout the season.

“Our aim is to keep doing this and making sure we leave no stone unturned as we continue to apply pressure at the top of the division, a place where we would like to be at the end of this season.”