READING Rockets (8-4) will make the short journey to Hemel this Saturday when they take on the Storm (7-5) in a fourth-against-fifth clash in NBL Division One.

Rockets split their opening two games of 2018 as they comfortably defeated Lancashire Spinners (0-12) 107-67 before suffering a surprise loss at the hands of Team Newcastle (5-10).

The north-east side came away from Rivermead with a priceless 67-63 victory to put a dent in Reading’s title hopes.

Saturday’s opponents Hemel Storm had a great start to the opening weekend of the year as they beat Loughborough Student Riders in the semi-final of the National Cup to secure a place in their first-ever final, although the Hertfordshire team were beaten 87-86 by Team Solent Kestrels in the league the following day.

Rockets assistant coach Alan Keane was in a reflective mood after last weekend, but is looking forward to the challenge an impressive Hemel team possess.

The Irishman said: “Last weekend provided us with some much-needed feedback on where we need to be better and the clarity needed in every situation.

“This is a work in progress and something we will be focusing on to keep alive in all of our practices this week and moving forward.

“We have a great group of guys and now we must challenge ourselves to be better in every moment as well as review and reflect honestly and with intent.”

He continued: “Hemel has proved to be a force to be reckoned with and they will be on a high after making it to the National Cup final.

"They boast a lot of individual talent on their roster and are a very difficult team to play against, especially at home.

“Our job will be to have a clear and concise game plan as well as work on the attributes I have already mentioned and I think this is an ideal game for us to put this to the test.”

Rockets go into the match with no-one on the treatment table, but the game does come too soon for 6ft 9in forward Danny Carter’s return – the 29-year-old coming back into the fray next week.

Head coach Manuel Peña Garcés should have a full squad to choose from as his team look to complete the double over their opponents for the first time in three years with the Berkshire outfit fending off a fourth quarter comeback in the first meeting between the two teams back in October as they claimed a 95-94 victory.