Stripes aim at moving back in third place

Birkirkara start as favourites to return in third place as they take on neighbours Balzan Youths in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Monday.

After defeating Hibernians in their previous outing, last week, the Stripes were held in a disappointing draw by Sliema Wanderers. Therefore they are keen to return to winning ways.

Balzan lie at the bottom of the Championship Pool after losing three of the four matches from the second phase, collecting the only point in a draw with Sliema.

For Balzan, Jonathan Francica is ruled out through suspension but Nikola Tasic will be back after serving a one-match ban. Shola Shodiya and Moises Avila Perez return for Birkirkara from suspensions.

Birkirkara defeated Balzan twice this season – 2-1 and 4-0.

Meanwhile in the first game, Tarxien Rainbows hope to return to winning ways as they take on wooden-spoonists Marsaxlokk in a clash between the bottom two teams.

The Rainbows won two and lost two in the four matches from the Relegation Pool and lie second from bottom on 15 points, just one behind Mosta and Mqabba and after suffering a narrow 1-2 defeat to Hamrun, they will be all out to claim the three points.

Marsaxlokk lost thirteen out of the last fourteen matches and lie six points behind Tarxien. Avoiding relegation now seems to be an unsurmountable task after losing heavily the last three matches in which they suffered no less than fourteen goals.

Both sides are expected to be in full strength with no players injured or suspended.

In the first round, Marsaxlokk beat Tarxien 4-2 but the Rainbows registered a 2-0 win in the second round.