Tricky test for Gzira United

Gzira United will be all out to claim the three points on Friday as they take on rivals Hamrun Spartans at the National Stadium, kick-off at 19:00, in one of the three BOV Premier League matches in programme.

The Maroons won just two out of the last six matches, dropping eight points in draws and last week’s 1-1 draw with Tarxien Rainbows saw them lose the top spot to Hibernians. A win is therefore a must as they await the clash between Hibernians and Valletta on Sunday.

The Spartans, who are currently fourth on 26 points, six behind second-placed Gżira and five behind Valletta, are unbeaten in seven matches, dropping two points in a draw with Floriana last week.

Andre Scicluna is set to make his debut for Hamrun after joining the club from Tarxien Rainbows. Italian midfielder Gianmarco Conti is also expected to make his first appearance for the Maroons.

In the first round, Gzira and Hamrun shared the spoils in a goalless draw.

Meanwhile in the first match at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Birkirkara take on Pietà Hotspurs.

The Stripes currently share fifth place with Sliema on 25 points and are unbeaten in four matches after winning three matches and a draw with Balzan in their last outing. The Hotspurs, on the other hand, are currently third from bottom on ten points after suffering four defeats in the last four outings.

Birkirkara’s Terence Agius and Pietà’s Ishaya Irimiya Jalo are both ruled out through suspension but the Hotspurs should have Stefan Radovanovic and former Birkirkara midfielder Uchenna Calistus Umeh making their debut.

In the first round, Birkirkara registered a 2-1 win.

In the second match, Sliema Wanderers and Floriana cross swords in the Old Firm derby.

The Wanderers share fifth place with Hamrun on 25 points but lost four out of the last seven matches. The Greens, on the other hand, lie nine points behind them after claiming just seven points from the last eight matches.

Nii Nortey Ashong is ruled out for Sliema as he serves a one-match ban. On the other hand, Brandon Paiber could make his first appearance for Floriana.

In the first round, Sliema beat Floriana 1-0.