Leaders Valletta keen on maintaining positive run

Leaders Valletta will be hoping to extend their positive run since the beginning of 2013 as they face Sliema Wanderers in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme on Saturday at the National Stadium.

The Citizens claimed maximum points in the first two matches after the Christmas break, defeating Hibernians 4-1 and Birkirkara 1-0, after collecting just eight points from the previous eight matches.

However this will be no easy task as Sliema Wanderers are desperate for points in their bid to secure a top-six finish. They are currently sixth on 30 points, five ahead of Balzan. They lost 1-2 to Hibs last week.

Paltemio Barbetti and Luca Martinelli are ruled out for Sliema as they serve a one-match ban while Henry Bonello is ruled out injured. Luigi Ruggiero will be back after serving a suspension. Valletta, on the other hand, welcome back Manuel Bartolo, Ryan Fenech and Demba Toure. Defender Steve Borg is still injured.

The first round clash ended in a 1-1 draw.

Meanwhile in the first match, Birkirkara take on Mosta.

The Stripes will be aiming to return to winning ways after losing to Valletta last week. A defeat which left Birkirkara in third place. It was the first defeat for Paul Zammit’s side after nine positive results.

Mosta, on the other hand, hope to upset the Stripes as they seek a positive result in their bid to secure a top-six finish. They are currently joint-fourth on 31 points, six ahead of seventh-placed Balzan.

Ryan Camenzuli returns for Birkirkara after serving a one-match ban. Goalkeeper Ini Etim Akpan is ruled out through suspension. Mosta, on the other hand, should have former Dingli goalkeeper Jeffrey Farrugia making his debut after the club released Justin Haber. Goalkeeper Noel Attard is suspended.

Birkirkara defeated Mosta 1-0 in the first round.

>Photo: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com