Qormi and Balzan Youths will be seeking precious points in the battle for a place in the Championship Pool as they take on Mosta and Marsaxlokk respectively at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Friday.
One point separates the two teams with Balzan lying in sixth place on 24 points – two behind Sliema Wanderers and Birkirkara, and Qormi seventh on 23.
Mosta face Qormi in the first match, hoping to extend their positive run in recent outings after defeating Tarxien, being held in a draw by Hamrun and beating Xewkija Tigers in the FA Trophy last week. The Blues are currently tenth on 14 points and a win on Friday would put them in eighth place.
They have been strengthened with the signing of Dyson Falzon from Valletta and Serbian midfielder Predrag Mirceta after Tanzanian striker Zakaria Kibona made his debut for Steve D’Amato’s side on Sunday. Gilbert Martin returns for Mosta after serving a one-match ban.
Qormi lost four of the last five matches although they reached the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy with a comfortable win over Second Division side Mellieha. Lying in seventh place, they are eager for points in their bid to secure a top six finish.
Jonathan Bondin and Joseph Farrugia will be back after serving a one-match ban but Jorge Pereira da Silva is suspended. English defender Kris Thackray may be able to make his debut for the club should his international clearance arrives in time.
In the first round, Qormi registered a 4-1 win over Mosta.
Meanwhile in the second match, Marsaxlokk take on Balzan Youths.
Balzan Youths will be aiming for a sixth positive result in eight matches to move temporarily in fourth place and stay ahead of Qormi in the battle for a place in the Championship Pool. In the FA Trophy, they lost narrowly to holders Floriana and they are therefore keen to bounce back with a win on Friday.
Bledjon Guga, Bjorn Bondin and Jonathan Francica are all suspended but they are in a race against time to sign former Malta international midfielder Jamie Pace on loan from champions Valletta.
Wooden-spoonists Marsaxlokk have done their best to strengthen their squad over the past weeks after the departure of several key players. But this was not enough to halt their negative run as they are coming from a heavy 1-5 defeat to First Division side Pieta Hotspurs in the FA Trophy. They suffered five consecutive defeats in their last five league outings, conceding ten goals and scoring none.
In the first round, Balzan defeated Marsaxlokk 3-1.