McWaide joins Thistles’ ranks

LISMORE Thistles have been boosted by the signing of dynamic midfielder Luke McWaide, who will make his debut for the Blues in their away clash against Goonellabah in Far North Coast premier league soccer tonight.

The former Richmond Rovers player has spent this season with Murwillumbah in the Gold Coast premier league, but Blues coach Rod Lees is more than happy to see him return to Lismore.

"He'll start off the bench tonight, but will definitely become a big part of our line-up as a holding midfielder," Lees said.

His arrival will help balance the loss of Matt Weir to Goonellabah last week, who will be one of three former Thistles players lining up against their old club tonight, along with keeper Brad Robertson and Damien Parker.

Their presence will add some spice to the contest, which assumes great importance with Thistles clinging to fifth place and the Hornets just three points behind.

Lees will start the same 11 that downed Lennox Head 3-1 in their last start, but is expecting a difficult game.

"I'm happy with our form, but it'll be tough - they only went down 1-0 to Rovers on Tuesday, so they're in good shape too," Lees said.

The Hornets will be playing their third game in a week after tough encounters with Byron Bay and Rovers, with coach John Eakin missing Jason Woollett, Sam Eyears and Dane Muldoon through injury.

"We'll have to shuffle our backline, but if we play as well as we did in the second half against Rovers we can win it," Eakin said.

With Kurt Stephens in good form and Batok Ring up front with Dave Annetts the Hornets will play a direct style, putting pressure on Thistles' central defensive trio of Max Hospers Matt Cramp and Jordan Nind.

Kick off is 8pm.

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