Leaders take on rivals Birkirkara

Leaders Valletta hope to extend their unbeaten run as they take on rivals Birkirkara in one of the two matches in programme at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The Citizens won four of the last five matches, defeating Balzan Youths 7-2 in their last outing and enjoy a two-point lead over Hibernians.

Birkirkara claimed maximum points from their last three matches and target another positive result from this game as they aim at keeping the pace with second-placed Hibernians. They lie in third place on 21 points, together with Floriana, eight points behind Hibernians.

Alfred Effiong will be back for Valletta after serving a one-match ban while Michael Mifsud and Mady Panandetiguiri could be back after missing the last game.

Following a 2-2 draw in the Euro Cup, Valletta defeated Birkirkara 2-1 in the Premier League first round and 4-1 in the second round.

Meanwhile second-placed Hibernians hope to pile more misery on Floriana as the two teams face each other for the third time in a month.

Following a 1-1 draw in the second round of the BOV Premier League, the Paolites eliminated holders Floriana from the FA Trophy thanks to a narrow win. Earlier this season, the two teams had shared the spoils in another 1-1 draw in another league match.

Hibs won six of the last seven league matches, defeating Sliema Wanderers last Wednesday. Against Floriana, they are expected to be in full strength with no players injured or suspended.

The situation at Floriana is more worrying as the 1-3 defeat to Birkirkara on Wednesday meant that they have now gone five matches without a win. A defeat which prompted coach Michael Woods to hand his resignation.

To make matters worse, three players were handed a one-match ban, namely Eric Akoto, Manolito Micallef and Ivan Woods. Onome Sodje has been released.

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