Severn Stars vice captain, Nia Jones, is expecting a “tough duel” when her side face high flying Loughborough Lightning this weekend.

Jones insists being underdogs is an advantage if they can play with freedom, but emphasises the need for focus.

Stars take on Lightning, who sit second in the Vitality Netball Superleague table, at London’s Copper Box Arena on Sunday (May 9) at 12pm.

“It’s definitely an advantage to be the underdogs if we see it as an opportunity to play with freedom but also focus, but every team has different pressures,” said Jones.

“At the moment the game is important to Loughborough in their quest for the top spot, yet for us we are hungry to break into that top eight. We will see it as an opportunity to play the Stars way against one of this year’s strongest teams.”

Stars go into the match in buoyant mood after getting their third win of the season last weekend.

Jones says Stars have set themselves targets for converting their own centre passes and for turnovers during the game against Lightning, which will give them the best chance of winning the match.

“It’s just about converting one possession at a time and having a full seven player effort on defence to steal valuable ball off Lightning,” she said.

“We know it’s going to be a tough duel. We’re aware of how dangerous [Mary] Cholhok can be under the post so turnovers from their centre passes will be like gold dust. We’re working to put lots of pressure on their feeders to disconnect them from favourable feeding zones, but also really make the most of our own centre passes.

"In defence we know they are dynamic and deceiving so it will be important for us to be smart and creative with how we open them up through the court and keep possession of the ball if we need to. We were in the contest until half-time in our previous meeting, so we will be building on that and hoping we can stretch that out over four quarters this time.”