Derby test for leaders Valletta

Leaders Valletta would move an important step towards securing the 23rd championship in the history of the club should they overcome the challenge offered by neighbours and eternal rivals Floriana at the National Stadium in one of the three matches in programme on Saturday.

At the Hibernians Stadium, Balzan take on bottom-placed Qormi while Sliema Wanderers and Mosta cross swords in a mid-table clash.

Floriana vs Valletta, kick-off 14:30 at National Stadium
Leaders Valletta will be all out to register a twelfth consecutive win which would ensure they stay at least six points clear of second-placed Hibernians as the Premier League campaign comes to an end in three weeks’ time. The Citizens extended their unbeaten run to eighteen matches and eleven consecutive wins as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 2-0 last week.

Floriana, on the other hand, are currently fifth but still managed to earn a point in their last outing against Hibernians despite playing for an hour in ten men. Stealing one or more points off Valletta would revive hopes of challenging for third and fourth place although the FA Trophy must now be the Greens’ main objective.

Goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona is suspended while Enrico Pepe is in doubt as he is still recovering from an injury. Valletta could not count on the suspended Ryan Camilleri but Romeu Romao will be back after serving a one-match ban and Claudio Pani should be back after missing the last game.

In the first two rounds, Valletta defeated Floriana 3-1 and 2-1.

Sliema Wanderers vs Mosta, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
After last week’s derby upset to rivals Naxxar, Mosta will be hoping to return to winning ways in order to mathematically secure their Premier League status. Mosta are currently eighth on 19 points, two behind Sliema, eight ahead of tenth-placed Naxxar. However the Wanderers will be hoping to build on last week’s 2-0 win over Pembroke Athleta.

For Sliema, Njongo Priso is still ruled out through suspension while Mosta’s Zachary Brincat and Dyson Falzon are unavailable as the former is suspended and the latter is injured.

Sliema defeated Mosta 2-1 in the first round with the second round clash ending in a 1-1 draw.

Qormi vs Balzan, kick-off 18:00 at Hibernians Stadium
Balzan are firm favourites to stretch their unbeaten run to fifteen matches as they take on bottom-placed Qormi who are coming from a run of fourteen consecutive defeats.

For Balzan, Alfred Effiong is ruled through suspension but Pedrinho will be back after serving a one-match ban. Qormi’s Emerson Vella is suspended.

In the previous rounds, Balzan defeated Qormi 1-0 and 5-0.