Tricky tests for Hibernians, Valletta

Joint-leaders Hibernians and Valletta will be in action at the National Stadium on Saturday, both hoping to claim the maximum points, as they take on Birkirkara and Sliema Wanderers respectively.

In the first game, the Paolites face a Birkirkara side desperate for points after losing to Sliema in their last outings. This defeat left the Stripes four points behind the two joint-leaders and therefore they cannot afford any result other than a win from Saturday’s clash.

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Hibernians defeated neighbours Tarxien 3-0 last week and another win on Saturday would enable them to make sure of staying on top.

Justin Haber and Ryan Scicluna return for Birkirkara after serving a one-match ban but Harun Shola Shodiya is ruled out through suspension. Obinna Obiefule may be available for Hibernians after returning back from China.

In the first phase, after a 1-0 win for Birkirkara, the two teams shared the spoils in a goalless draw in the second round.

Meanwhile in the second match, Valletta hope to extend their positive run with a win over Sliema Wanderers.

The Citizens registered two comfortable wins over Mosta and Floriana in their last two outings.

The Wanderers, on the other hand, joined Birkirkara in third place thanks to a 1-0 win over the Stripes. They welcome back John Mintoff after serving a one-match ban.

The first round clash ended in a 1-1 draw with Valletta winning 2-0 in the second round.