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Lauren Nicholls of Loughborough Lightning.

Loughborough Lightning have announced the arrival of former teammate Lauren Nicholls and rising academy talent Alex Johnson as training partners for the 2023 season.

Nicholls left Lightning last year for Wasps Netball but will now re-join the club following the departure of the Coventry-based side from the league.

Head coach Vic Burgess has welcomed the return of the 31-year-old who has made over 75 appearances for Lightning and was also part of their title-winning side in 2021.

“Lauren has been part of the Lightning family for a long time,” she said.

“It was an easy decision to include her as a training partner for the 2023 season as she is a great team player and the girls love having her back in our environment.”

U21 player Alex Johnson will also join Lightning after having earned her first spot in a Netball Super League squad.

The Loughborough University student is moving to the East-Midlands based side from Manchester Thunder.

Johnson has been balancing her university studies with training for both the NPL U21 side and her University BUCS team.

Burgess has been impressed with Johnson’s development since joining the pathway.

She said: “Alex showed some great performances at U21 NPL and BUCS level and was named as a temporary replacement player in 2022 for the NSL side.

“She has integrated well and got to know the current squad over the past 12 months and has thoroughly deserved the opportunity to join them for the season ahead as training partner.”

Loughborough Lightning’s two recent signings bring the size of their squad to 17 and conclude the signing window for the team.

Burgess’ side are currently preparing for the kick-off of the 2023 season in February when Lightning take on Team Bath in their opening match.

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