Balzan, Floriana hope to bounce back from defeats

In their bid to secure a top-six finish, Balzan Youths will be hoping to collect precious points on Saturday as they take on Floriana in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme at the Hibernians Stadium.

After losing heavily to Birkirkara last week, Balzan will be all out to bounce back with a win in their bid to secure a place in the Championship Pool. They won ten points from the previous four games and Saturday’s game gives Ivan Zammit’s side the opportunity to show they deserve making it to the top six.

However their chances are hampered by the absence of Jonathan Francica and one of their key players – Pedro dos Santos Calcado. Jamie Pace and Rennie Forace could be back after missing the last game.

Floriana are also keen to return to winning ways after a stoppage-time goal in the game against Mosta brought to an end an impressive run of nine matches without defeat. The 1-2 defeat to Mosta leaves the Greens five points behind Hibernians and nine behind leaders Valletta. Erik Akoto will be back after serving a two-match ban. Christian Cassar, Onome Sodje and Thomas Paris are ruled out for Floriana.

In the first round, Floriana defeated Balzan 3-1 while in the U*BET FA Trophy, the Greens registered a narrow 1-0 win.

Meanwhile in the second game, Hibernians will be hoping to keep the pace with leaders Valletta as they take on Mosta.

The Blues’ morale is sky high after defeating Floriana last week for a fourth consecutive positive result which saw Steve D’Amato’s side collect ten points and climb into joint-eighth place. However on Saturday, the Blues could not count on Adrian Borg, Dyson Falzon and Ian Zammit while the presence of Kurt Magro and Florent Raimy is in doubt as both were sick.

Hibs are coming from three successive wins, defeating Tarxien, Hamrun and Qormi to move to just four points behind the leaders. With a win over Mosta, they would move temporarily to just one point behind Valletta who will be engaged in a tricky test with Birkirkara on Sunday. Hibs coach Mark Miller could not count on Clayton Failla who is suspended.

In the first round, Hibernians registered a 2-0 win.