Hibernians, Birkirkara seek wins

Birkirkara and leaders Hibernians seek a hat-trick of wins over Naxxar Lions and Qormi respectively as they hope to start the final phase on a positive note.

In the first match, Birkirkara will be all out to claim the three points after three 1-1 draws with Hibs, Sliema and Valletta. However following Valletta’s 2-3 defeat to Zebbug, the Stripes would move three points ahead of the Citizens, alone in second place. In the FA Trophy, Birkirkara beat Pietà Hotspurs 3-0.

Naxxar, on the other hand, are joint-second from bottom. A 4-0 win over Zebbug in their last outing put them back on track after losing four of the previous six matches.

David Fenech and Frank Temile are ruled out through suspension for Naxxar but Emmanuel Ibok Edet returns after serving a one-match ban. Ryan Scicluna returns for Birkirkara while Joseph Zerafa is expected to be back after re-joining the club after a spell in England with two non-league clubs.

In the first two rounds, Birkirkara defeated Naxxar Lions 1-0 and 3-1.

Meanwhile in the second match, Hibernians hope to extend their positive run to twenty-three matches as they take on a Qormi side which earned its first point in seven matches thanks to a 2-2 draw with Floriana. In their last league outing, Hibs beat neighbours Tarxien 4-1 while in the FA Trophy, they eliminated Balzan after the penalty shoot-out. On the other hand, Qormi beat Sirens 7-0 in the FA Trophy quarter-finals.

Rodolfo Soares will be back for Hibs after missing the last league game but Marcelo Dias and Luis Andre are both recovering from injuries. Qormi are expected to be in full strength.

Hibernians defeated Qormi 2-1 in the first round and 6-0 in the second round.