CHESHIRE PHOENIX coach Ben Thomas believes Sunday’s opponents London City Royals have set the standard for clubs looking to join the BBL Championship.

Based at the iconic Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in South London, the Royals are enjoying a superb maiden season in the league.

After taking 11 victories from 17 league fixtures to date, Jay Williams’ side sit fourth in the table as well as advancing to this year’s BBL Trophy final.

Thomas has been impressed by the club’s swift adjustment to life in the division and believes the Londoners have a bright future.

He said: “They’ve done everything the right way since joining the league.

“Other sides that have tried to do the same thing have struggled, but London have been really smart in how they’ve done their business.

“They’ve appointed a coach with a wealth of experience in the game and their recruitment has been excellent. Bringing some of the best players in British basketball to a new club isn’t easy, but the finance seems to be in place for them to have done that and the club looks really stable.

“There’s an appetite for the game in London and they’ve got the fanbase there to help them grow. They’re getting better with each game and it’s no surprise to me to see that they’re up there challenging already.”

The Nix can keep themselves among the Championship’s play-off hopefuls with a victory.

Currently eighth in the standings, the Ellesmere Port club can move level on points with the Royals, who Cheshire beat 98-86 in October.

And with just a third of the season remaining, Thomas has urged his side to capitalise on home advantage in the run-in.

He added: “We’ve got 11 games left and seven of those are at home.

“In that time we’ll be playing six games against the current top four, which is about as tough as it gets.

“But those are four-point games as far as we’re concerned. Taking points off the clubs around us will be vital in the run-in, because this division is just so tight.

“We feel fresh after no game last weekend and are looking forward to getting back on the court in front of the fans and hopefully getting the head-to-head advantage.”

Dii’Jon Allen-Jordan, right, will be assessed prior to the game as he continues his comeback from a groin injury.