Citizens take on Stripes in bid to retain top spot

Joint-leaders Valletta will be aiming for maximum points on Saturday as they take on rivals Birkirkara at the National Stadium in this weekend’s big match from the BOV Premier League. The Citizens currently share the top spot with Hibernians, two points ahead of the Stripes who are joint-third along with Balzan.

Valletta claimed maximum points from the first two matches of the second round as they beat St. Andrews 4-0 and Sliema Wanderers 4-2. Birkirkara, on the other hand, returned to winning ways with a narrow win over Tarxien after two draws in the previous two matches against Floriana and Naxxar.

The Citizens could welcome back Henry Bonello and Llywelyn Cremona but Jhonnattann is still in doubt. Ian Azzopardi is ruled out through suspension. Birkirkara are expected to be once again without Paul Fenech and Fabrizio Miccoli with the Italian striker reportedly on the verge of leaving the club in the January transfer window.

Valletta defeated Birkirkara 2-1 in the first round.

Meanwhile in the first match, Pembroke Athleta face Sliema Wanderers. Sliema are coming from three consecutive defeats to Balzan, Tarxien and Valletta, falling fourth from bottom, three points behind Pembroke Athleta after a win over Valletta, a draw with Qormi and a win over St. Andrews.

Alex Muscat, Johann Bezzina and Mark Scerri could return for the Wanderers but Pedrinho is still serving a suspension. Pembroke, on the other hand, are expected to be in full strength.

Sliema beat Pembroke 1-0 in the first round.