Crunch time for Thistles as they take on Lennox Head tonight
LISMORE Thistles will be looking to kick-start their spluttering season with a home win over Lennox Head tonight in Far North Coast premier league soccer.
The Blues have just two wins from their six games and last week crashed to a 5-1 loss to Casino in the Cobras first win since returning to the top flight.
"We've been up and down so far and this is now a must-win game for us," said Blues coach Rod Lees.
"We've got to be better all over the park. We can't afford another lack lustre performance against a good side like Lennox."
The Blues will be boosted by the return of Jake Nind and Jeremy Sullivan from suspension, with only Ryan Parmenter missing from an otherwise full-strength line-up.
Lennox Head will be without suspended defender Karl DeGroot, but the Anzac Cup champions have plenty of quality players who will trouble the Blues.
Classy defender Ihsan Sauran will marshal their backline, while midfielder Chris Burgess is in good form along with Jervis Foley and the league's equal top scorer Byron Milne up front.
"They will be fired up to bounce back from the surprise loss to Casino, but we've worked on a few things to be ready for them," Sharks coach Troy Taylor said.
The two sides share fifth place, but with Thistles having played one more game than the Sharks, they are more in need of a win as the race for semi final berths starts to heat up.
In the second match tonight, fourth placed Alstonville will be looking to consolidate their place in the top five with a home win over cellar dweller Ballina.
While Villa will start firm favourites, they will be playing their third game in six days in a gruelling schedule, giving the Seahorses the sniff of an upset for their first win.
Both games kick off at 8pm.