Hibs, Balzan seek morale-boosting wins

Champions Hibernians and Balzan will be all out to return to winning ways on Saturday as they take on Pembroke Athleta and Mosta respectively in the two matches in programme at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.

Hibs lost 2-3 to rivals Valletta in their last league outing to fall three points behind the Citizens but their 2-1 win over PSV in a friendly match earlier this week must have lifted the morale of Branko Nisevic’s side.

Pembroke, on the other hand, lost to Sliema and Birkirkara but bounced back with a good draw against Balzan. They are currently fourth from bottom on eighteen points.

Against Hibs, Pembroke should field new signings Terence Agius and Manolito Micallef but Gibson Bardsley was released while Austin Martz is set to stay in the US as he was feeling homesick. Rodolfo Soares and Marcelo Dias could make their return for the Paolites but Jorginho is in doubt.

In the first round, Pembroke held Hibs in a 1-1 draw.

Meanwhile in the second match, Balzan hope to make up for recent disappointments with a win over Mosta.

Oliver Spiteri’s side lost to Tarxien and Valletta before being held in a draw by Pembroke. In the January transfer window, they already secured the services of Birkirkara midfielder Paul Fenech and strikers Alan da Souza Silva and Pedro dos Santos Calcado. Edison Bilbao Zarate left the club to join Birkirkara as part of the Paul Fenech deal.

Mosta, on the other hand, saw the departure of Manolito Micallef and Ryan Grech. They currently lie two points behind Balzan and are coming from a 0-3 defeat to Birkirkara. Against Balzan, they could not count on Edin Murga who is yet to arrive in Malta from Bosnia Herzegovina due to visa problems and the suspended Onyekachi Okonkwo.

Balzan beat Mosta 3-1 in the first round.