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Lindsay Keable: “The top four is where we want to be”

Co-captain Lindsay Keable insists London Pulse are targeting a top-four finish in their second full Vitality Netball Superleague season ahead of this weekend’s 2021 curtain-raiser.

The Copper Box-based outfit finished rooted to the bottom of the ladder in their inaugural campaign hitters in 2019, but won all three of their outings last year before the league’s suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Almost a year on Sam Bird’s side are within touching distance of a return to action, with the new campaign getting underway at Production Park Studio 001 in Wakefield, which will stage the first nine weeks of matches, before the teams head to Pulse’s home venue for the remainder.

With the likes of Lefebre Rademan now in their ranks alongside exciting young stars such as Funmi Fadoju, Keable – a Superleague winner with Saracens Mavericks in 2011 – is confident her team will be keeping their eyes pinned towards the top of the table.

“The top four is where we want to be,” said Keable, 32. “I genuinely believe we can compete at that level, and prove we are one of the top teams out there.

“We’re a young team and there’s so much potential in the squad. I think we’re considered one of the underdogs going into the new season, but we’re happy to take that and show everyone what we’re really capable of.

“It’s been a long pre-season, but the girls have been really on it. Everyone’s had different battles to face across the last 12 months, but netball has actually united us and as a franchise we’ve put ourselves in the best possible position ahead of our first game.”

Leeds Rhinos enter the fray for the first time as the Superleague’s 11th side, and with Donnell Wallam and England legend Jade Clarke among their ranks Keable is expecting big things from Dan Ryan’s team.

But with the likes of Felisitus Kwangwa and Ine-Mari Venter making high-profile moves to Surrey Storm and Saracens Mavericks respectively, Keable is sure that there are going to be no easy games.

“I think it could be very open this year. There’s a real blend of international players and promising youth stars at almost every club,” she said.

“It’s great to see Leeds Rhinos involved, as it represents another pathway for young girls in the north where we’ve seen great players like Ellie Cardwell and Helen Housby emerge. Ultimately though it’s another game to win!

“As much as we like being the underdogs and hope that teams underestimate us, we can’t afford to do that with anyone else. You always have to be aware of teams like Severn Stars, Team Bath and Manchester Thunder, and there’s some good young players at Wasps.

“It’s going to be intriguing to see what happens.”

A landmark broadcast deal will see every Vitality Netball Superleague match this season televised by Sky Sports, ensuring Pulse fans don’t have to miss a minute of their side in action.

Putting smiles on the faces of supporters is a key motivator for Keable’s fellow Pulse co-captain Halimat Adio, who believes the league’s return will illustrate the strength of the netball community.

She added: “The Sky deal represents real progression, because people are going to have the chance to watch netball, relate to it and be a part of it. Knowing that the Pulse fans are going to be behind us is a great feeling.

“It’s been brilliant to see the whole netball family come together to get the new season started. So many people from various organisations have put in so much work behind the scenes to get us to this point, and its testament to the sport that the franchises have put their rivalries to one side for the greater good.

“I’m just so excited pre-season is finally over and to get the chance to get back out on court.”

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