Valletta aim at returning to winning ways

Valletta will be aiming at returning to winning ways on Saturday as they take on their main rivals in the eighties – Hamrun Spartans in one of the two matches in programme at the National Stadium.

After being held in a 2-2 draw by Tarxien Rainbows, the Citizens cannot afford dropping any points in their bid to regain sole leadership. They are currently second, one point behind leaders Qormi and one ahead of Birkirkara.

The Spartans, on the other hand, are currently seventh on 20 points, together with Floriana. They will be doing their best to earn precious points from this game but the absence of three players who are ruled out through suspension, namely Roderick Fenech, Rupert Mangion and Ian Zammit besides the injured Jonathan Holland, will make life difficult for Steve D’Amato’s side. Hamrun lost 1-2 to Qormi last week after claiming six points from the previous two games against Sliema and Msida.

Valletta coach Ton Caanen will make one change in defence as Kenneth Scicluna is suspended and Luke Dimech returns after serving a one-match ban.

In the first round, Valletta registered a 3-2 win.

Meanwhile the first game is the derby Hibernians vs Tarxien Rainbows.

The Paolites are currently fourth on 26 points and need one point from the last two games to secure a place in the Championship Pool. However they have gone a month without a win obtaining just three points in three draws with Qormi, Birkirkara and Floriana out of their last four matches, losing the other game against Valletta. Mario Muscat and Aaron Xuereb will be back for Hibs after serving a one-match ban.

Tarxien, on the other hand, lie in sixth place on 22 points, two ahead of Hamrun Spartans and Floriana. A positive result from this game is therefore a must in their bid to secure a top-six finish for the first time in the history of the club. They claimed seven points from the last three matches, defeating Msida and Qormi, holding Valletta in a 2-2 draw.

In the first round, Hibs came from behind to beat Tarxien 2-1.