Valletta, B'Kara aim at maintaining positive run

Joint-leaders Valletta and Birkirkara will be hoping to extend their positive run on top the BOV Premier League table as they take on Sliema Wanderers and Hibernians respectively in two matches from the Championship Pool at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The leaders enjoy a five-point lead on third-placed Qormi who lie in third place on 21 points. Sliema are fourth on 18 and Hibernians fifth on 17.

In the first match, Birkirkara take on Hibernians. The Stripes seek a fifth successive win after Msida, Qormi, Sliema and Qormi once again in their last four matches.

The Paolites, on the other hand, are virtually out of the race for the title, especially following last week’s 1-2 defeat to Valletta. Hibs disappointed in recent outings considering that they won just one game out of the last eight – a narrow 1-0 win over Qormi.

Against Birkirkara, Hibs will be without Adrian Pulis, Miguel Lopes De Pina and Andrew Cohen as they were all ruled out through suspension. Carlo Mamo is suspended for Birkirkara but Branko Nisevic and Paul Fenech will be back after missing the last game.

The Paolites defeated Birkirkara 4-0 in the Euro Cup but the two league clashes ended in two 2-2 draws.

In the second match, Sliema Wanderers take on Valletta.

The Citizens’ morale is sky-high especially after the signing of Malta international striker Michael Mifsud. However Mifsud will be unable to make his debut against his former team as the transfer is yet to be given the go-ahead by the MFA Executive Committee. The Wanderers are therefore eager to upset the Citizens as Sliema were one of the clubs who were chasing Mifsud.

Valletta won seven of the last eight matches and scored no less than eighteen matches in the last four games, defeating Hamrun 4-0, Dingli 6-0, Tarxien 6-2 and Hibs 2-1. Sliema, on the other hand, returned to winning ways last Sunday as they defeated Tarxien 2-0. The Blues lost just one out of the last six matches and now target a win against Valletta in order to move back in third place, on level points with Qormi.

Sliema had already inflicted a 1-3 defeat on Ton Caanen’s side early in January but earlier this season, Valletta had defeated Sliema 1-0. In the Euro Cup, the Wanderers beat Valletta 2-0.

Valletta duo Steve Borg and Njongo Priso are ruled out as they serve a one-match ban. On the other hand, Josef Mifsud and John Mintoff will be back for Sliema after missing the last game through suspension.

Melita Sports shall broadcast LIVE the two matches on Melita Sports 703. The programme MATCHDAY will include post-match interviews and highlights.

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