Difficult test for Birkirkara as Stripes aim to keep pace with leaders

Birkirkara will be all out to claim the three points on Monday as they take on Sliema Wanderers in one of the two matches in programme at the Hibernians Stadium.

After losing in a direct clash last week, the Stripes now lie ten points behind the Paolites and therefore only a win would satisfy Paul Zammit’s side. The loss to Hibernians was the second defeat in three matches for Birkirkara, winning the other game against Valletta.

However the Stripes have no easy game as Sliema Wanderers are eager for victory which would put them in third place on level points with Valletta and Balzan, just two points behind Birkirkara. The Blues dropped just two points from the last four matches, beating Pietà, Zebbug and Mosta and being held in a draw by Balzan.

No players are suspended but the two coaches could not field their best formation as Gareth Sciberras is ruled injured while Matheus Bissi is slightly injured for Birkirkara while Alex Muscat and Stefano Bianciardi are recovering from injuries for Sliema.

Meanwhile in the first match, new Zebbug Rangers coach Alfonso Greco will be making his debut in the derby agaisnt Qormi. The first derby between Qormi and Zebbug in the top division for over three decades.

Zebbug are still chasing their first win after collecting just three points in three draws so far and are coming from a narrow defeat to Pietà last week. For this clash, they welcome back Clifford Gauci and Javier Diaz Serrano who were suspended.

Qormi, on the other hand, are currently joint-fifth thanks to three wins in their last three outings over Mosta, Floriana and Tarxien. Another win on Monday would put them on level points with Valletta and Balzan.