Tricky test for leaders Birkirkara

Leaders Birkirkara will be hoping to extend their positive run on Thursday as they take on Qormi in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme at the National Stadium.

Lying four points clear of second-placed Valletta, the Stripes won seven out of the last eight league matches and only a win over Qormi would ensure that they maintain the comfortable lead over the Citizens. Although Birkirkara beat Qormi three times this season – 5-2 in the first round and 2-0 in both the second and third rounds, this game will be no easy one for Paul Zammit’s side.

The team led by Vince Carbonaro and Jesmond Zerafa is currently third on 27 points. The Yellow-Blacks’ morale is sky high after beating Sliema Wanderers 4-0, Hibernians 3-0 and reaching the U*BET FA Trophy semi-finals after defeating Hibernians.

Birkirkara, on the other hand, beat Sliema 3-0 in their last outing.

Alan Tabone and Rowen Muscat should be back for the Stripes after missing the last game. Qormi should be in full strength.

Meanwhile in the first game, Sliema Wanderers take on Tarxien Rainbows.

The Wanderers disappointed heavily in recent outings, suffering heavy defeats to Qormi and Birkirkara in their last two league outings and to Hamrun Spartans in the FA Trophy. Therefore a win is a must for Mark Marlow’s side in order to restore the challenge for the second or third place. They are currently fourth on 24 points, eight behind second-placed Valletta and three behind third-placed Qormi.

Tarxien, on the other hand, are sharing the fifth place with rivals Hibernians. They suffered a 0-3 defeat to Valletta during the weekend and although their main focus is now on the FA Trophy, they will be doing their best to avoid the bottom place in the Championship Pool.

Clifford Gatt Baldacchino is ruled out through suspension for Sliema but Pedro Dos Santos Calcado should be back.

The Rainbows beat Sliema 3-1 in the first round but the Wanderers won 4-2 and 2-0 in the second and third round matches.

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