Thunder are third from bottom, with two wins and eight defeats from their ten EBL Division 1 games this season, but Hildreth feels his young side are improving all the time.
Thunder are six points behind Tees Valley who are eighth and occupy the final play-off position and eight points behind fourth-placed Essex Leopards.
Hildreth said: “A couple of games have got away from us this season but we’ve lost five games by six points or less.
“We’ve been ahead in each game at half-time, or even in the third quarter, so we’re a lot more competitive than we were in the first half of last season.
“This time last year, we were bottom and still got to the play-off final. Our aim this year is to try to finish in the top three or four and get a home play-off.”
Thunder host leaders Hemel Storm, to whom they lost 83-77 two weeks ago, on Saturday. The game tips off at 7.30pm at Worthing Leisure Centre.
James Brame plays his last home game before he goes back to America for work. Tomas Seduikis, who suffered a ankle injury in the defeat at Hemel, returned to training this week and Rhys Francis could also be back after his ankle injury.