Depleted Stripes seek third place

Birkirkara coach Paul Zammit could not count on five players all ruled out through suspension as the Stripes take on Sliema Wanderers in a clash from the Championship Pool. A clash which could put Birkirkara back in third place.

The Stripes bounced back from defeats to Floriana and Valletta with a 2-0 win over Hibernians despite ending in nine men last week. This was only the second win in five matches.

Sliema Wanderers are yet to claim their first win in the Championship Pool, earning just three points in three draws out of the eight matches played. They are coming from a 0-3 defeat to Valletta last week. Like the last game against the Citizens, coach Danilo Doncic is expected to field an experimental side.

Shaun Bajada, Angus Buhagiar, Rowen Muscat, Nikola Vukanac and Rodrigo Pereira are all unvailable for Birkirkara as they are serving a suspension while Jorge Santos Silva is in doubt as he is recovering from an injury. Sliema have no suspended players but Rumen Galabov, Andrew Decesare and Jerry Ani are ruled out injured.

Sliema Wanderers registered two 1-0 wins over Birkirkara in the first phase with the third round clash ending in a 1-1 draw.

Meanwhile in the first match, Hibernians take on Balzan Youths

Hibs lost two out of the last four matches, suffering a 0-2 defeat to nine-man Birkirkara in their last outing, therefore blowing away chances of winning the championship.

Balzan have now gone eight matches without a win, earning just one point of the last six matches. They are coming from a 0-3 defeat to Floriana.

For Balzan, Jonathan Francica is ruled out through suspension but Lydon Micallef and Pedro dos Santos Calcado return to the squad after missing the Floriana game. Hibernians should be in full strength.

Hibernians and Balzan met three times this season. Following a 3-1 win for the Paolites in the first round, the second round clash ended in a 3-2 win for Balzan but Hibs won the third round clash 4-1.

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