BEN THOMAS believes his Cheshire Phoenix side should be feared by their BBL Championship play-off rivals.

A late resurgence ensured the Nix secured a top-eight finish in style this season and they head into Saturday's quarter-final home clash with Leicester Riders in buoyant mood.

In the final fortnight of the season, Phoenix triumphed over north west rivals Manchester Giants, racked up impressive away wins over champions London Lions and fellow play-off qualifiers London City Royals before signing off with a 100-83 home success over Worcester Wolves.

And head coach Thomas says the momentum of their regular season form can now spur his players to glory.

He said: "Basketball is a game of runs.

"You have periods in games where you can't stop scoring because of the hot-streak you're on and it feels the same when you're stringing big results together.

"We're the most in-form team in the division right now. As individuals we've gelled more as the season's gone on and things have just clicked for us as a team lately.

"We feel like we're the best team in the league at this moment, and I think a lot of clubs also in the play-offs will be scared of playing us because of the quality of our play of late."

The Ellesmere Port club won just one of their three league meetings with the Riders this term, which came courtesy of a comfortable 79-64 success in late March.

Boasting home advantage in the first leg, the Nix will then travel to Leicester on Monday for the second.

Thomas insists that focus and discipline will be key if his side are to advance to the final four.

“It’s two massive games against Leicester to come and we've ensured our preparation is right by getting in plenty of recovery time as well as training sessions”, he added

"Whatever happens in the first leg, we can't afford to get too carried away.

"If we're losing by10 points and heads go down, that could quickly turn into a 20-point margin.

"So it's important that we stay switched on and try to take as big a lead as we can into the second game two days later.

"We've shown we can more than match Leicester on our day, winning by 15 points against them away from home proves that.

"They have more play-off experience than ourselves and have won the title in recent seasons and you'd have to say that's in their favour.

"As a squad this is relatively new to us, but this is what we've targeted from day one this season and we have to make these games count now."

Other quarter-final clashes this weekend see the Royals host Glasgow Rocks, Newcastle Eagles visit Sheffield Sharks, and the Lions head to Plymouth Raiders.