Tarabai set to make his final appearance as Hibs take on Tarxien in derby

BOV Premier League top scorer Edison Luis dos Santos is set to make his final appearance for Hibernians as the leaders take on neighbours Tarxien Rainbows in the derby.

Floriana hope to maintain the challenge for a place in Europe with a positive result against Birkirkara, Balzan aim to bounce back with a win over Sliema Wanderers while Qormi and Naxxar Lions cross swords in a direct clash between two challengers against relegation.

Qormi vs Naxxar Lions, kick-off 14:00 at Hibernians Stadium
After winning their last game, both sides aim at a second win in a row in a relegation six-pointer. Qormi registered their first win in over three months as they beat Mosta 3-1 while Naxxar defeated Zebbug 2-1 after losing to Birkirkara and Balzan in the previous two matches.

Naxxar are expected to be in full strength apart from the injured David Fenech. Alfred Effiong is suspended for Qormi.

Qormi defeated Naxxar 1-0 in the first round but the second round clash ended in a 1-1 draw.

Sliema Wanderers vs Balzan, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Balzan will be hoping to bounce back from the 0-3 defeat to Floriana in a direct clash for fourth-place, leaving them three points behind the Greens. Failure to get the three points from this clash would be another major set-back as they target a historic place in Europe this summer.

The Wanderers lost 2-4 to Birkirkara last week and a return to victory on Sunday would put them on level points with Balzan in fifth place as three points currently separate the two teams.

Balzan’s Justin Grioli and Sliema’s Pedrinho and Marko Potezica are all ruled out through suspension. Djumo Bocar returns for Sliema after serving a one-match ban but Stefano Bianciardi and Balzan’s Gianmarco Piccioni miss the game due to injuries.

Following a goalless draw in the first round, Balzan defeated Sliema 5-3 in the second round.

Floriana vs Birkirkara, kick-off 14:00 at National Stadium
After defeating Balzan in a direct clash for fourth place, Floriana hope to extend their positive run as they are coming from six positive results including three successive wins in their last three outings. However Birkirkara cannot afford to drop any points in order not to lose further ground with leaders Hibernians.

Paul Fenech and Ini Etim Akpan are suspended for Birkirkara. Floriana, on the other hand will be in full strength apart from the injured Andre Scicluna.

The previous clashes ended in 2-1 wins – for Floriana in the first round and Birkirkara in the second round.

Tarxien Rainbows vs Hibernians, kick-off 16:00 at National Stadium
Edison Luis dos Santos is set to make his final appearance for Hibernians on Sunday before he leaves the club to join Korean club Seoul E-Land on loan until the end of the calendar year.

The Paolites dropped just six points in three draws this season and target a twenty-sixth positive result against the Rainbows who are anchored at the bottom of the table with 11 points. Tarxien are coming from four consecutive defeats to Hibs, Sliema, Floriana and Valletta.

Henry Bonello will be back for Hibs but Marcelo Dias is still recovering from an injury. Owen Bugeja, Firas Aboulezz and Carlos Menendez Hevia return for Tarxien but Mouhamed Soly and Edu Vallecillo are both ruled out through suspsension.

Following a 1-1 draw in the first round, Hibernians defeated Tarxien 4-1 in the second round.