Following Hibernians’ narrow win in the derby against Tarxien Rainbows, Balzan cannot afford any result other than a win as they take on Sliema Wanderers in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme at the National Stadium on Sunday.
Balzan lie one point behind the Paolites and are coming from an unbeaten run of seven matches but in the first round, they were held in a 1-1 draw by the Wanderers and this time, a win is a must in order to regain the top spot.
Sliema lacked consistency in this campaign. For example after an impressive win over Floriana, they lost to Mosta and were then held in a draw by Pembroke. They are currently seventh on 28 points, seventeen behind Balzan.
Peter Xuereb returns for Sliema after serving a one-match ban. Dylan Grima, on the other hand, is ruled out through suspension for Balzan.
Meanwhile the second clash puts against each other the rivals of the eighties and early nineties – Valletta and Hamrun Spartans.
The Citizens are currently fourth in the table and are eager to return to winning ways after being held in two draws by St. Andrews and Tarxien Rainbows. The Spartans, on the other hand, lost five out of the last seven matches, suffering back-to-back defeats to Pembroke and Balzan in their last two outings.
Hamrun coach Jacques Scerri could not count on the suspended Karl Micallef and Jorge Mesqueu Neto.
Valletta defeated Hamrun 3-0 in the first round.