READING Rockets (13-5) return to NBL Division One action this Sunday (2pm) when they travel to Loughborough Riders (10-5).

Alan Keane's men will be hoping to bounce back and increase their chances of a top-four finish after they missed out on the first piece of silverware last weekend when beaten 90-67 by Team Solent Kestrels in the National Cup Final.

Sunday’s meeting between the two teams will be the second of the season with Rockets taking their home game in comprehensive fashion 93-70 back in October.

Since then, Rockets have lost American AJ Carr through injury, but gained British forward Leome Francis.

Meanwhile, Riders have added former junior Rocket Harrison Gamble to their line-up alongside Jonas Dieterich, who re-joined the East Midlands outfit after a spell in the first team with Leicester Riders.

Head coach Keane was understandably disappointed to see his team defeated in the National Cup, but was proud of his younger players stepping up and knows this will be necessary again this weekend.

The Irishman said: “We have really enjoyed our cup run and although we are disappointed not to win the competition, I am very proud of my team for the way they performed. But now we are excited to get back to league action and chase a top-four finish.

“A very positive step this weekend was how our EABL (Elite Academies Basketball League) players stepped up and showed us they are ready for that next level of play and it is more than likely we will need them again this weekend with the injuries we currently have."

He continued: “Loughborough are one of the best teams in the division and have bolstered their roster since we last played them.

"They play a good brand of basketball and are very well coached so it will be a tough trip there to gain a win and keep up the goal of finishing in the top four, but I know the players are hungrier than ever to keep performing to the best of their ability with what we have as a group.”

Rockets have major injury doubts about Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor, who both missed the National Cup final defeat, while co-captain Ed Potter is also unavailable.

SITOTA Gines scored 21 points and added 14 rebounds, six steals, five assists and a block, but it was not enough for Rockets' Under 18 Girls as they went down 60-57 in their final.