Cheshire Phoenix coach Matt Lloyd and captain Chez Marks (pictured) hope the team can put a turbulent 2012 behind them by taking a step towards the post-season with victory at Durham Wildcats.

With Phoenix currently joint seventh in the championship table and the Wildcats in 11th, both teams know that a win could be crucial to their hopes of making the playoffs.

“In the new year, my plans are to make a good run in the championships as well as the playoffs,” Marks told the BBL website.

The American veteran, who currently leads the league in scoring with 22.8 points per game, is expecting a big test in the North East, particularly with December’s BBL Player of the Month Ralph Bucci in the Wildcats line-up.

“Durham is a scrappy team,” he said.

“They play hard and what I like most about them is that they play together. I think Ralph Bucci is their man guy. He knows how to play the game of basketball, plus he is a proven player.”

Lloyd, meanwhile, is hoping for a repeat of the encounter between the two teams at the Northgate Arena, which Phoenix won 106-72.

“I think last time we did particularly well in the third quarter rebounding the ball at both ends of the floor,” he said.

“We need to make sure that we do that throughout the game in order to get the win on Sunday.

“For the rest of the season, we are going to try and target the play-offs, and try to win more games than we lose and have a positive win-loss record by the end of the season.”

By Andy Jowett

Pic: Brian Dingle/Bkephoto