Valletta will be all out for the three points in order to regain sole leadership as they take on Naxxar Lions in one of the four BOV Premier League matches in programme on Sunday.
Birkirkara take on Qormi, Floriana face Tarxien Rainbows while Sliema Wanderers meet bottom-placed St. Andrews.
Naxxar Lions vs Valletta, kick-off 14:00 at National Stadium
Valletta start as firm favourites to grab a sixth consecutive win as they take on a Naxxar Lions side coming from four consecutive defeats. A win which would put them once again three points clear of Hibernians.
Apart from St. Andrews, the Citizens defeated Sliema, Birkirkara, Balzan and Hibernians, therefore making their intentions clear. On Wednesday, they secured a place in the fourth round of the FA Trophy as they beat Xewkija Tigers.
Brazilian defender Diego Balbinot will be making his league debut for Valletta after starring for the Citizens in Gozo on Wednesday. Naxxar, on the other hand, should have Serbian defender Nikola Tasic and Namibian defensive midfielder Ennio Hamutenya making their first appearance. Tasic had played for Balzan and Pietà over the past years while Hamutenya joined Naxxar on loan from Valletta.
However Valletta will be without Claudio Pani and Ryan Camilleri and Naxxar without Blazo Rajovic and Jose Angel Godar Pereira as the four players are suspended. Angus Buhagiar returns after serving a one-match ban.
In the first round, Valletta beat Naxxar 3-1.
Birkirkara vs Qormi, kick-off 16:00 at National Stadium
Drazen Besek makes his debut as Birkirkara coach as the Stripes aim to close in on Hibernians with a third consecutive win.
In the first week of the transfer market, Birkirkara lost Zach Muscat to Akragas and Paul Fenech to Balzan but as part of the latter deal, they signed Chilean midfielder Edison Bilbao Zarate. The position of Rowen Muscat is still unclear after returning to Malta from Italy where he was due to sign for Ascoli. Another new arrival was that of Croatian defensive midfielder Mislav Anđelković. Shola Shodiya was released as he is still recovering from an injury. Against Qormi, they could not count on the suspended Mauricio Mazzetti.
Qormi lost three out of the last four matches and will aim at making life difficult for the Stripes. Coach Johann Scicluna has to deal with the absence of the suspended Clifford Gauci.
In the first round, Birkirkara beat Qormi 2-1.
Sliema Wanderers vs St. Andrews, kick-off 14:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Sliema target a third win in four matches as they take on St. Andrews who continue to chase their first point of the season.
The Wanderers have released Pedrinho and Colombian players Sebastian Esquivel Perdomo and Cristian Fernando Toro Perdomo. St. Andrews, on the other hand, allowed Nicky Vella Petroni to join Melita on loan while Matthew Guillaumier is set to join Birkirkara but could make a last appearance on Sunday.
In the first round, Sliema beat St. Andrews 1-0.
Floriana vs Tarxien Rainbows, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Floriana will be aiming for a fifth win in six matches but they have no easy task as they take on a Tarxien Rainbows side which was one of the most pleasant surprises this season. The Rainbows won three of their last five matches and lie four points behind Floriana.
The Greens could not count on the injured Jurgen Pisani. Tarxien, on the other hand, have Bruno Giglio de Oliveira suspended. Danilo Meira Santos and Anderson Raimundo da Silva have been released. Ebiabowei Baker returns after serving a one-match ban.
In the first round, Floriana and Tarxien shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.