Lyon remains optimistic despite St Kilda setbacks

Ross Lyon would like to remind everyone that St Kilda were one goal away from winning three of their past four AFL games.

While the St Kilda coach also concedes they face a test against top side Sydney on Sunday at Marvel Stadium, he refuses to buy into the gloom surrounding his side.

Sunday's frustrating two-point loss to Port Adelaide sent them into the bottom four with a 5-10 record.

Key forward Max King suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Port loss, and the Saints have made five changes for Sunday, with another three players also hurt.

But before the Port game, they had challenged in-form Brisbane at the Gabba, after beating West Coast and Gold Coast.

"People don't want to hear it, but we move the ball and score as well as anyone from centre-back," Lyon said.

"Our front-half game, getting it back, hasn't been as strong as we'd like and then our stoppage scoring has been our achilles heel since I've been here.

"But we know the last (month) ... we've had an uptick in form. We're really looking to measure ourselves and get the feedback and play good footy in front of our fans - it was great to hear them roaring (last Sunday).

"We're building. We're really excited, a lot to play for (in) the next seven weeks."

With King out, Tim Membrey and Mattaes Phillipou will return to bolster their attack, while Anthony Caminiti's ankle injury means Dougal Howard is back to take his spot in defence.

The Saints will have studied with interest how Fremantle were able to blunt the star-stuffed Sydney midfield and snap the Swans' 10-game winning streak.

But St Kilda struggled in the engine room last Sunday, with Lyon lamenting their inability to stop Port's midfield "hydra" as Jason Horne-Francis dominated through the middle of the game.

"We're always optimistic - over the course of our season we've been able to break pretty even in there," Lyon said.

"That game on the weekend was really disappointing, obviously.

"But failure is feedback ... I expect the midfield group has gone to school on that and they don't get structurally pulled apart like they did."