Hibernians and Hamrun Spartans cross swords in the second semi-final of the U*BET FA Trophy on Monday, kick-off at 19:30.
After finishing second behind champions Valletta, the Paolites will be all out to win the FA Trophy but to do this they need to overcome first the challenge offered by the Spartans who seek the first major honour in two decades.
Caretaker coach Richard Mercieca will be leading the team after coach Mark Miller was sacked on Tuesday after refusing to sign a new contract and reportedly agreeing a deal with Valletta. To make matters worse for the Paolites, Clayton Failla and Edison Luis dos Santos are ruled out as they serve a one match ban.
Hibernians won four of the last five league matches, defeating champions Valletta 2-1 last week. In the previous rounds of the competition, Hibernians defeated Third Division champions Pembroke Athleta 5-3, First Division runners-up Rabat Ajax 5-0 and Floriana 1-0.
Meanwhile the Spartans had a fine positive run in the Relegation Pool until they secured their Premier League status, losing heavily the remaining matches: 0-6 to Qormi, 0-3 to Tarxien and 1-4 to Mqabba. To reach the semi finals, Hamrun beat First Division side Dingli Swallows 3-1, Birkirkara 3-2 and another First Division side St. George’s 3-1.
For the Spartans, Scottish striker Dene Shields could return to the starting line-up after being ruled out for a number of weeks.
Hibernians and Hamrun Spartans met twice this season. The two teams shared the spoils in. A 1-1 draw in the first round but Hibs won the second round clash 5-0.