Tricky test for Birkirkara

Birkirkara hope to bounce back from the mid-week U*BET FA Trophy upset as they take on Sliema Wanderers in one of the two BOV Premier League matches in programme on Sunday at the Hibernians.

The Stripes were eliminated from the FA Trophy after losing 1-2 to Qormi and therefore their focus is now fully shifted on the championship where they are coming from an impressive 7-1 win over Mosta.

However their task will be no easy one as they take on a Sliema Wanderers side eager for points as they hope to secure a top-six finish after losing to Hibernians and Valletta in their last two outings.

Paltemio Barbetti and Luca Martinelli will be back for Sliema after serving a one-match ban but Luigi Ruggiero is suspended. However Ian Zammit is set to make his debut after completing his switch from Valletta. Birkirkara will be without Nikola Vukanac who was sent off in the FA Trophy defeat to Qormi.

In the first round, Sliema defeated Birkirkara 3-1.

Meanwhile in the first match, Hibernians seek the three points as they host Balzan.

The Paolites defeated Hamrun Spartans 6-1 in their last league outing and reached the U*BET FA Trophy quarter-finals after beating Gudja United 4-0. They are currently second four points behind leaders Valletta.

Balzan, on the other hand, needed extra-time to beat Gzira United 3-2 in the FA Trophy. They are currently seventh, five points behind Sliema Wanderers. The 1-1 draw with Rabat Ajax in their last outing was a major setback for Ivan Zammit’s side in their bid to land a place in the Championship Pool.

Zammit could not field his best formation as Yessous Camilleri and Aaron Agius are suspended while Jonathan Francica and Pedro dos Santos Calcado are injured. For Hibernians, Allan Kardeck dos Santos is no longer in squad after being released.

In the first round, Hibs defeated Balzan 3-2.

Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA