CHESHIRE PHOENIX coach Ben Thomas says his side cannot afford to ‘take their foot off the pedal’ in their pursuit of a play-off place.

The high-flying Nix have climbed to fifth in the BBL Championship standings on the back of successive league wins over rivals London City Royals and Sheffield Sharks.

Now into the final third of the campaign, the Nix look well-placed to secure a top eight finish with a 50 per cent win rate this term.

The latest victory saw the Nix stage an impressive late fightback to triumph 80-73 against the Sharks, a result that Thomas believes showcased his players new-found winning mentality.

He said: "It was a massive win for us and to finish the game as strongly as we did after a poor first half was really pleasing.

“We’re finding ways to grind out results now and that’s made a big difference for us this season.

“In previous years we’ve been in the chasing pack and looking to force our way into those top eight places, but now we find ourselves in a really strong position.

“But we haven’t achieved anything yet and we know we can’t take our foot off the pedal.”

Shooting guard Momcilo Latinovic has been in fine form of late and his 25-point haul against the Sharks was instrumental in clinching victory.

Thomas has been delighted by the Serbian’s impact this term and has challenged the 30-year-old to show his quality again in Sunday’s home clash with third-placed Newcastle Eagles.

“His shooting is probably the best in the league and against Sheffield he had an almost perfect night in terms of accuracy”, Thomas added. He’s been a big player for us and hopefully he can continue to deliver these performances consistently in the run-in, starting with Newcastle. It’ll be another tough game against a close rival, but with our mindset right now we should be full of confidence for it.

“We can’t afford to keep looking at what the teams around us are doing each week.

“We’re only concerned with what we can control and putting as many points as we can on the board in the games we’ve got left.”