CHESHIRE PHOENIX are in a strong position to realise their play-off ambitions this season, according to head coach Ben Thomas.

The Nix head into 2019 occupying the final play-off position in the British Basketball League Championship, but have played several games more than some of their top eight rivals.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash at Glasgow Rocks, Thomas feels his side have benefited from their two-week fixture break over Christmas and are now primed for a strong 2019 campaign.

He said: “With playing more games earlier in the season than most of our rivals, we’re the only BBL club to have had a break over the festive period.

“That was massive for us. It gave the players some much needed downtime and the opportunity to recharge so that we’re coming into the new year refreshed and hungry to get back on court.

“Missing out on the play-offs last season was probably our biggest disappointment, but this year it feels like we’re in a stronger place.

“We were outside the top eight for most of last season and chasing those teams above us, but catching up with them didn’t materialise.

“But now we’re right in amongst it with points already on the board, which hopefully gives us something to cling onto.”

Currently 10th in the division, Glasgow have battled back from a slow start and are steadily improving this season.

And Thomas believes they are one of the two clubs best-placed to overhaul them in the play-off race.

“Realistically, I think there are two clubs behind us - Glasgow and Manchester- who have the quality to force themselves into the top eight.

“Glasgow had a lot of upheaval early in the season, with the personnel changes they made up there.

“But they’ve implemented a new playing style up there and of plate they’ve played very well.

“They’ve overcome a poor start and look like contenders again, so we know this is going to be a very tough away game.

“It’s the first of three massive games against teams around us in this month and we want to get some early momentum behind us to strengthen our league position.”

Thomas has a full roster at his disposal for the clash, with influential guard Dii’jon Allen-Jordan available again after recovering from injury.

Saturday's fixtures see Leicester Riders host Worcester Wolves, and Manchester Giants head to London City Royals.

The Giants will visit Surrey Scorchers on Sunday, while Plymouth Raiders entertain Newcastle Eagles.