JACK Thomas is confident Oxford Cheetahs will start climbing the table now they are back at full strength.

Troy Batchelor and Josh MacDonald returned for Wednesday’s visit of Newcastle Diamonds – the first time all seven riders had been available since the season-opening win over Scunthorpe Scorpions on April 13.

Cheetahs raced into a 17-7 lead after four heats, but their momentum was halted when the meeting was abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

READ MORE: Oxford Cheetahs left frustrated after Newcastle clash abandoned

They are ninth in the SGB Championship ahead of tonight’s visit to Redcar Bears (7.30pm) and Thomas believes they are capable of rising into the play-off places.

He said: “Without a doubt, we’re only halfway through the season, we’ve got plenty of meetings to go and as long as the boys start firing we’ll be good.

“We’ve got Josh and Troy back, Troy’s come to the party and hopefully he can keep it up.

“Josh picking up a 5-1 (against Newcastle) will only build his confidence.”

The 23-year-old has been one of Cheetahs’ star performers so far this season and is desperate for silverware.

Thomas said: “I’m trying my hardest for the fans and trying my hardest to help the boys win the league. It would be a dream.”

Tonight will be the fourth time Cheetahs have faced Redcar in the opening two months of the season.

The teams were drawn together in the Knockout Cup first round, with the north east outfit recovering from a 47-43 defeat at Oxford Stadium to win the second leg 51-39 and progress on aggregate.

Cheetahs then gained revenge two weeks later with another 47-43 victory at Sandy Lane.

Thomas, who also rides for King’s Lynn Stars in the SGB Premiership, expects the ECCO Arena to provide plenty of entertainment.

He said: “I’ve had a couple of meetings at Redcar, the first one I had the speed and made mistakes.

“I went there this year, scored really well and beat a few good riders.

“It’s a track I quite enjoy. It’s fast and a proper racing track with the banking, so it’s definitely a meeting I’m looking forward to.”

Cheetahs are three points short of sixth in the table, the last play-off place.

Promoter Jamie Courtney said: “We’re focusing on making sure we make the play-offs.

“We’ve had a few teething issues, but hopefully the boys can prove me right that the team we put together can make the play-offs.”

Anyone who bought a ticket for the Newcastle meeting should have received an email via TicketSource with readmission or refund details.