The fixture is the beginning of a tough run of four away games for the defending champions, including a weekend in London where they face their two closest contenders for the title in three days – Surrey Storm and Hertfordshire Mavericks.
But for now, the team’s attentions are firmly on getting a win in Newcastle against a Team Northumbria side that has stumbled through the season so far.
With just the win against rock-bottom Celtic Dragons on the board, Team Northumbria are unlikely to improve that tally against a confident Manchester Thunder side, who have so far swatted away every team that has threatened their path towards title retention.
Starting well in away games is the key, according to Chelsea Pitman, who turned in a player of the match performance for Thunder’s victory against Loughborough Lightning last week. She added: “Looking back at our first away game against Yorkshire Jets, we didn’t start well at all and didn’t have a good full 60 minutes. We want to make sure we do start well and play to our strengths and not play into their hands with the defenders this time. We want to make sure we’re just being safe with the ball and keep it short and sharp.”
Manchester Thunder take on Team Northumbria at Sport Central in Newcastle at 8pm on Friday night.