Hibernians will be aiming for the maximum points on Saturday as they take on Hamrun Spartans in one of the four BOV Premier League matches in programme at the National Stadium and the Hibernians Stadium.
Tarxien Rainbows hope to return to winning ways as they face Gzira United, Floriana take on bottom-placed Pembroke Athleta while Birkirkara meet St. Andrews.
Gzira United vs Tarxien Rainbows, kick-off 14:00 at Hibernians Stadium
After claiming six points from the last three matches, Gzira United hope to collect more precious points in their bid to move away from the danger zone but facing Tarxien will be no easy game considering that the Rainbows lost just one out of the last eleven matches and have just eliminated Balzan from the FA Trophy to reach the semi-finals. In their last outing, they lost narrowly to neighbours Hibernians while Gzira defeated St. Andrews 3-2.
The Maroons will be without the suspended Antonio Orlando de Queiroz Machedo Neto but Souleymane Diamoutene will be back after serving a one-match ban. Tarxien, on the other hand, could not count on Matthew Tabone as he serves a one-match ban.
Following a 1-1 draw in the first round, Tarxien defeated Gzira 1-0 in the second round.
Floriana vs Pembroke Athleta, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Fourth-placed Floriana target a third consecutive win as they take on Pembroke who were leapfrogged by Mosta after the MFA Protests Board awarded Mosta the three points for the game which had ended in a 5-0 win for Pembroke but which was marred by an alleged match-fixing attempt by team manager Uchenna Anyanwu.
Last week, Pembroke were also eliminated from the FA Trophy at the hands of Gozitan side SK Victoria Wanderers. Floriana, who are coming from two wins over Mosta and Birkirkara, eliminated Hamrun Spartans to reach the semi-finals of the FA Trophy.
Floriana will be without the suspended Alex Cini while Pembroke could not count on the two former Floriana players – Filippo Andrea Scozzese and Zoran Levnaic.
In the previous rounds, Floriana registered two 2-1 wins over Pembroke.
Birkirkara vs St. Andrews, kick-off 14:00 at National Stadium
After losing to Floriana in their last outing, Birkirkara will be hoping to return to winning ways as they take on St. Andrews who are also coming from a 2-3 defeat to Gzira United.
The Stripes are currently fifth and for the first time in twenty years risk missing out on participation in the UEFA competitions this summer. Therefore winning is a must in their bid to keep the pace with the teams on top. St. Andrews, on the other hand, are in search of precious points in order to move further away from the danger zone.
Birkirkara will be without the suspended Christian Bubalovic and Joseph Zerafa while Felix Okon Udoh is ruled out through suspension for St. Andrews who welcome back Karlo Kesinovic after serving a one-match ban.
In the first round, Birkirkara registered a comfortable 4-0 win but the second round clash ended in a 1-1 draw.
Hibernians vs Hamrun Spartans, kick-off 16:00 at National Stadium
Hibernians will be aiming for a fourth win in the last five matches in order to regain the top spot. However Hamrun Spartans will be all out to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat after losing to Pembroke, Balzan and Valletta in their last three league matches apart from a 0-2 defeat to Floriana in the FA Trophy.
Hibernians will be without Andrei Agius as he serves a one-match ban. Karl Micallef returns for Hamrun but Jorge Mesqueu Neto is still suspended.
Hamrun defeated Hibs 3-1 in the first round but the second round clash ended in a 4-1 win for the Paolites.