Panthers shooting for Stars

THE Pottsville Panthers have prepared an aggressive game plan for their home clash against Italo Stars this afternoon as the side seeks a spot in the top three of the Football Far North Coast premier league.

The Panthers' attack is in red-hot form, having scored 10 goals in three rounds, and captain-coach Dave Lonie's plan is to unleash it on the Stars in the opening minutes.

“We'll take the same approach to the game as we did against Ballina and play possession football for the first 25 to 30 minutes, get behind their defence and put a couple of goals in the back of the net,” Lonie said.

Lonie has the firepower to do that, with strikers Mike Kolovos and Josh Boag slotting goals with ease.

“We've got a good combination up front with two completely different strikers,” he said.

“Mikey can turn players and has an aggressive style while Josh has the speed and strength to run on to the through-balls ... and we have got plenty of strength through the mid-field to support them.

“Hopefully we get a few opportunities to use that this weekend.”

Pottsville sits at sixth on the ladder and is on a two-match winning streak, while Italo Stars are second-last and have not won a game all season. But the Panthers took on a desperate bottom-placed Bangalow last week and leaked three goals.

Lonie said his defenders were amongst the best in the league and was confident they would be back in form at home.

“Those guys made some simple mistakes which was untypical of them and we have all done the hard work at training and did what we needed to be doing to sort out any issues.”

In FFNC first division, the third-placed Uki Pythons are also playing at home against second-placed Casino.

With both sides in the top three, it is set to be an epic clash and Uki coach Joe Scholl admitted Casino was the team to beat. “They have some good quality players in their goalkeeper, centre midfielder and striker so we will have to be on our game coming off the bye and will need our concentration going right from the start,” he said.

Apart from an injury to centre midfielder Shane Banks, the Pythons have a full-strength outfit and Scholl said a win was vital for his side to consolidate its place on the ladder.

“We have spoken about how important this game is and I will remind them again before the game starts. They want to win the game so have a big showdown with Burringbar, who are leading the comp, next week.”

Action kicks off at Uki from 3pm. Burringbar has the bye.

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