READING Rockets' (6-2) six-game NBL Division One winning streak came to an end last weekend when they were beaten 106-89 by current league leaders and reigning champions Solent Kestrels (8-0).

Alan Keane's men remain in the top three, however, and will look to return to winning ways this weekend when they take on the league's basement team Essex and Herts Leopards (0-8) on Saturday evening (5.45pm) at Oaklands College before travelling to the East Midlands to take on Nottingham Hoods (1-7) in the fourth round of the National Cup on Sunday.

Saturday’s encounter against the Leopards will be the first official game between the two teams this term with a pre-season friendly match ending in a Rockets home victory 97-74.

The Reading team have already faced Sunday’s National Cup opponents after defeating Nottingham at home 98-85 last month in the league.

Keane is looking forward to getting back to action this weekend and said: “This weekend we face a vastly improved team in Essex who have had a tough set of results so far, but traditionally have started games really well so we need to be wary of this.

"Their record doesn’t reflect their positive performances and they have a lot of talent on their roster so we will prepare for them like any other team, while keeping the majority of the focus on ourselves and being the best we can be.”

He continued: “Sunday brings a different challenge against a team we have already faced this season in Nottingham who have so far not got the results they probably deserve so again it’s only a matter of time before things start to click for them.

"We will need to respect them as we would any other team in the league and they have a strong inside presence as well as a lot of firepower from different positions so this will be a heavily focused defensive game for us.”

Rockets go into this weekend’s double header with no new injury concerns, and having out at the fourth round stage of the National Cup last season when they were beaten 76-60 by Manchester Magic, Rockets will be hoping to put those woes behind them and return to winning ways in the league with an opportunity to record win number nine in 10 games post this Sunday.