PREVIEW: Pressure is off against Manchester Thunder - Mel Mansfield

Mel Mansfield believes the pressure is off her Wasps Netball stars ahead of the challenge of facing Manchester Thunder.

The league leaders host third-place Thunder at Ricoh Arena on Wednesday evening (7.30pm centre-pass) as they look to extend their unbeaten streak to eight matches.

Wasps come into the fixture following a resounding 27-goal-margin victory over Strathclyde Sirens, while Manchester will be looking to bounce back after a tight defeat against Team Bath.

Head Coach Mansfield said: “The pressure is off us in this game and that’s the message I’m giving to the players too. We want to go out there, play our game and see what we can do.

“We know that this is going to be one of our toughest games of the season so far.

“We’ve already beaten three teams who could potentially end up being in the top four and have shown we are capable of coming out on top in these close games.

“Thunder are very controlled and clinical in attack, and are a well-drilled outfit. They have great structure and have talented players at every position.

“We’re still taking it game-by-game and every game is a test – this will be no different but we want to go out and play with no pressure.”

The game against Thunder is a Round 2 fixture, after the match was re-arranged from January.

It will see Wasps play their game in hand in the Superleague and a win would give the Black and Golds a nine-point advantage at the top of the table.

The match will be the first time Wasps have played in back-to-back home games this season – and Mansfield says the home stint has benefited the players already.

Mansfield added: “We got everyone out there on Saturday night, which is great for the players who maybe haven’t played in front of a big home crowd like that.

“We’re getting more and more settled in our line-ups and each game our connections out on the court are improving.

“It’s been really nice having these games close together at Ricoh Arena. It gives the team a chance to spend more time together away from the netball court, which is great for the group.”

Wasps Netball will take on Severn Stars at Ricoh Arena on Sunday 10 March (4pm centre-pass) – the final match in a three-game home stint.

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