LEOPARDS face two more crunch games in the space of 48 hours this weekend.
The Big Cats travel to table-topping Derby Trailblazers on Saturday night before hosting Reading Rockets at the Brentwood Centre the following day.
Coach Dejan Mihevc is keen to continue his side’s fine run of results.
And he feels two more victories could push fourth placed Leopards in to contention for the league title.
“A win on Saturday would put us in a position to fight for the league championship,” said Mihevc.
“That is much more than we expected at the beginning of the season but both games will be difficult for us this weekend.
“Derby have a great team and they play very well at home.
“They are very balanced and have a deep squad too.
“They’re also on a great run right now and just recently won the Trophy final quite comfortably so I would say we’re playing against probably the best team in our league.
“However, that means we are not under pressure.”
Leopards, who also play home matches in Basildon, have won their last 10 league outings to move up to fourth in the standings.
They also have at least three games in hand on all the sides above them and hope to have both John Lister and Lukas Volskis back from injury this weekend.
Leopards lost 97-91 in overtime to Derby in the Trophy but have yet to face them in the league this season.
Dominic Norton and Simonas Bublys should also return after missing last Sunday’s victory against Medway Park Crusaders following a car accident.
But Mihevc is also expecting a tough test against the eighth placed Rockets who Leopards edged past 81-79 earlier on in the campaign.
“Reading’s position in the table right now does not show the real quality of that team and I expect that they will finish the last part of the season strong,” said Mihevc.
“They for sure will be very well prepared and we expect a hard and very tactical game.”
“Reading are a team that focuses a lot of developing young players and I respect that a lot.
“They have a great programme with a very good coaching stuff and their construction of a team is very similar to ours so I think it will be another close game this weekend.”
The match at the Brentwood Centre tips off at 4pm