The BOV Premier League resumes this weekend after the Christmas break with two matches on Saturday and four on Sunday.
On Saturday, Valletta continue to chase leaders Hibernians, aiming for maximum points from the clash with Qormi. Floriana face Naxxar Lions in the other match at the National Stadium.
Lying fifteen points behind the leaders, Valletta cannot afford any result other than a win as they take on a Qormi side which is currently joint-fourth from bottom.
Josef Mansueto’s side lost three out of the last four matches and have now gone seven games without a win. They are coming from a 0-2 defeat to Birkirkara. Anderson Santos has been released while Albert Bruce joined Naxxar Lions.
After losing to Hibernians, Valletta bounced back with a 3-1 win over Sliema in their last outing. They won seven of the last eight league games. Valletta are yet to make any new signings but over the past weeks, they have released foreigners Hugo Faria, Adrian Zahra, Alex Terra and Raphael Kooh Sohna while goalkeepers Yenz Cini and Manuel Bartolo joined Gudja United and Zebbug Rangers respectively on loan.
Ryan Fenech will be back but Jonathan Caruana and Roderick Briffa are ruled out through suspension. Qormi’s Emerson Vella is also serving a one-match ban.
In the first round, Valletta defeated Qormi 4-0.
Meanwile Floriana could move fourth should they beat Naxxar Lions.
Following a 1-1 draw with Pietà, the Greens defeated Zebbug 4-1 in their last outing to move to just one point behind Balzan. Naxxar, on the other hand, share the eighth place with Qormi and are coming from a disappointing 0-1 defeat to Tarxien. A win would put them back on track as they would move to just one point behind the Greens.
Naxxar coach Jesmond Zerafa could not use new recruits Albert Bruce and Jorge Santos Silva who joined the club from Qormi and Tarxien respectively as the January transfer market will only open officially on Monday. Angus Buhagiar is suspended.
Floriana will be without the injured Andre Scicluna and the suspended Amadou Samb.
In the first round, the two teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.