Valletta seek win to extend lead

After being held in a goalless draw by Marsaxlokk in their last outing, leaders Valletta will be aiming at returning to winning ways on Saturday as they take on Sliema Wanderers in one of the two matches in programme at the National Stadium.

A win over the Blues would put the Citizens thirteen points ahead of Floriana, on the eve of the Greens’ clash with third-placed Tarxien Rainbows.

The Wanderers collected five points from the last three matches in a win over Vittoriosa and draws with Qormi and Tarxien and are now eager to take a positive result from this game in their bid to secure a place in the Championship Pool. They are currently seventh on 16 points, three behind sixth-placed Hamrun Spartans.

New Sliema signing Etienne Barbara, who joined the club following a successful spell with Carolina RailHawks in the USA, is unavailable as the international clearance has not arrived yet. John Mintoff is ruled out injured.

Malta international midfielder Ryan Fenech should make his debut for the Citizens after joining the club from Hamrun. Omonigho Temile is ruled out through suspension while Jamie Pace is injured.

In the first round, Valletta registered a 4-0 win.

Meanwhile in the first match, Qormi take on Hibernians in a direct clash between two teams desperate for points. Qormi are currently eighth on 14 points, followed by Hibernians on 12.

After beating Hamrun Spartans 4-2 in the previous outing, the Paolites disappointed once again last week in a 1-2 defeat to Vittoriosa. A result which almost condemned them to playing in the Relegation Pool.

Qormi, on the other hand, have now gone six games without a win. Six games in which they collected just three points in three draws.

Stephen Azzopardi could field a new foreign player – a Greek defender but will be unable to count on the suspended Matthew Bartolo and Cleavon Frendo.

Hibernians will be having two new players making their debut – midfielder Patrick Osei and striker David Fairbairn.

In the first round, the two teams shared the spoils in a goalless draw.

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