THIRD seeds Reading Rockets will look to continue their impressive form when they host Bradford Dragons on Sunday (5pm) at Rivermead Leisure Complex in the NBL Division One play-off quarter finals.

Rockets secured their third-place finish thanks to a run of nine wins to close out the league season with a crucial win over Team Northumbria by 110-91 to secure a 17-7 record.

Dragons visit Reading for the second time this season having suffered a 95-74 defeat back in November, before recording an 82-67 victory back home before the turn of the year.

Bradford also finished their campaign in a rich vein of form, winning six of their last seven games under the guidance of long-term coach Chris Mellor.

Rockets head coach Manuel Peña Garcés knows despite his team’s recent form, Sunday’s match is a one-off game and a poor performance would see his team’s season finish abruptly.

He said: “We have been performing better and better as the season has progressed and we have won some really important games and that should give us confidence as we head into the post-season.

“However, this does not give us a divine right to win, so the preparation over the last two weeks has been key and something we have really prided ourselves on, especially in terms of defensive consistency.

“Bradford are always a well-oiled, well-coached team and they are dangerous on any given day.

“They have talent at every position and Chris always has them fired up and ready to play with a good game plan, so we are expecting a real test in this winner takes all game.”

He continued: “We are pleased to finish in the top four and secure home court advantage in this round of the play-offs, and we are really looking forward to performing in front of our fans again who have been great all season and who will really need to get behind the team this Sunday.

“We are ready for the game with the continued aim of being the best version of ourselves in the moment we are in.”

Rockets are boosted by the welcome return of captain Danny Carter, who missed the wins over Team Northumbria and Lancashire Spinners at the back end of the regular season.

The 29-year-old was present at the birth of his first child, but has been back in action since and will return to the line-up for the visit of Bradford.

Under 18 Iñigo Perez Baena looks to be the only absentee from Manuel Peña Garcés’ side with Adrian Nosa Castillo returning from an ankle injury that has kept him out for a month.

Director of Coaching Matt Johnson will fulfil the assistant coach duties with Alan Keane away with the England Men’s Commonwealth Games team in Australia as Rockets look to reach the semi-final stage once again after last year’s shock exit to sixth-placed Team Solent Kestrels.

In the other ties, league champions Loughborough Student Riders take on Manchester Magic, Team Solent Kestrels host Hemel Storm, and Team Northumbria meet Worthing Thunder.