Thistle boss Stuart Davidson is expecting a testing encounter at Darvel on Saturday but believes his in-form side can win through.

Largs will be looking for a win to keep their promotion chase on course and keep their unbeaten start to 2018 going. It is a 1.45pm kick-off at Recreation Park.

However, key attacking midfielder Ryan McKie, who scored the winner against Maryhill on January 6, is unavailable this weekend.

Stuart said: "Ryan has a course with the fire brigade where he has got a new job - he has played a big part lately, but we have to look ahead, and I am confident we can do well at Darvel after recent displays.

"Kevin Struthers covered a lot of ground and set up a few goals in the Neilston encounter. Kevin will be disappointed not to have netted himself as he sets high standards.

Stuart was delighted with the manner of the team performance in last weekend's 5-1 drubbing of Neilston.

He said: "First and foremost it was good to get a game on after we only had half a game the week before and was good for match fitness.

"I was really happy with the display but I was disappointed we conceded a goal. We have defended well in recent weeks and managed a couple of clean sheets, but over the piece it was a wee lapse in concentration and obviously we scored a lot of goals.

"Blair Cousar was given some match time in goals and he made some critical saves at 3-1 to Largs, so it is great competition for Sean Graham."

"We are defending better as a full team from the forwards right to the back and making ourselves harder to beat and we are putting some goals away and long may that continue.

"This week is a tough game - their park was covered in snow last week, and the park could be quite heavy, so it will be a battle similar to the Maryhill game, and we are know that they are a very capable team, having scored three times against us in a spell of nine minutes at Barrfields in our 3-3 draw earlier in the season, so we have to be well prepared."

The good news is wing back Laurie McMaster is available for this weekend's encounter, and Largs have a full complement of players apart from McKie.

Stuart added that the squad togetherness was a key factor behind the recent good form, and said: "There is always going to be competition when fighting for places, but you don't get anywhere fighting with each other, and for a squad to achieve any success you have to pull together. As much as I want players playing for places, I want them playing for each other, and everyone has played their part in recent weeks."