10/03/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2019 11:47
Both need the points to stay within touching distance of the leading sides, albeit these are still early days.
Valletta, under the helm of coach Darren Abdilla, are three points adrift of joint leaders Ħamrun Spartans and Floriana, with Gżira United just one point behind their opponents.
Midfielder Rowen Muscat could return for Valletta after missing the 2-2 draw against Birkirkara last week but left-back Joseph Zerafa is doubtful.
Gżira have been impressive defensively so far, conceding just once but scoring only three. In their last outing, Gżira United claimed their first win after four consecutive draws, beating Balzan with two second-half goals.
Midfielder Zach Scerri returns from suspension for Gżira, led by coach Giovanni Tedesco.
Balzan vs Gudja United (Saturday - National Stadium, 3pm)
Balzan will be going all out to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Gżira United as they look to put together a winning run.
They face Gudja United who also have four points from five games but are coming from their first defeat of the season after going down to Floriana.
Balzan coach Jacques Scerri must cope without Paul Fenech who must serve a one-match ban.
Sta Lucia vs Senglea Athletic (Saturday - Centenary Stadium, 3pm)
Santa Lucia take on Senglea Athletic in another game between two teams determined to make up for their defeat in the last outings.
The Saints lost 3-1 to Sirens while Senglea lost to Ħamrun Spartans with the same scoreline.
Only one point separates the two teams with Santa Lucia, who caught the eye in their first four outings, just above Senglea who will be looking to get back to winning ways following back-to-back defeats.
Hibernians vs Birkirkara (Saturday - National Stadium, 5pm)
Another high-profile fixture in this weekend's programme as Hibernians meet Birkirkara.
Hibernians, in third place, will be looking to build on their narrow 2-1 win against Mosta on Sunday, knowing that they must raise their game, especially in attack, to extend their winning run and challenge for the top positions.
Birkirkara have endured a disappointing start as they are still looking for their first win but their performance in the draw against Valletta should have bolstered their confidence.
Goalkeeper Marko Jovicic is available for Hibernians after missing the win over Mosta due to suspension.
Birkirkara coach Andre Paus is unlikely to make significant changes from the Valletta match with Spanish winger Caio Rocha the shining light for the team in their last two matches.
Sliema Wanderers vs Sirens (Saturday - Centenary Stadium, 5.15pm)
A tricky game for Sliema Wanderers against Sirens who are doing well in their first Premier League season.
Sirens, led by coach Steve D'Amato, will be striving to build on their 3-1 win against Santa Lucia. They have 10 points from five matches, scoring 10 goals in the process.
Sliema Wanderers, under the guidance of Alfonso Greco, ended their winless start after edging Tarxien Rainbows 2-1 last week.
Angel Manuel Bustos is set to return for Sirens while the Wanderers welcome back Antonio Stelitano and captain Mark Scerri from suspension.
Floriana vs Tarxien Rainbows (Sunday - National Stadium, 3pm)
Floriana start as favourites to pick up the three points and keep hold of top spot as they face bottom side Tarxien Rainbows.
Nevertheless, the Greens are unlikely to underestimate their opponents who will be chasing their first points in the league.
Argentinian Augusto Caseres will be missing for side led by Italian coach Enzo Potenza but Matias Nicolas Garcia returns for the Greens.
Tarxien have no suspended players.
Ħamrun Spartans vs Mosta (Sunday - National Stadium, 5pm)
Ħamrun Spartans will be vying to extend their 12-game unbeaten run, going back to last season, when they take on Mosta.
Coach Manuele Blasi is clearly getting the best out of his players with the Spartans' collective effort and tactical discipline coming to the fore in their recent outings.
With players like Lagzir Soufiane, Nicola Leone and Wilfried Domoraud, the Spartans will be aiming to match or even improve on last season's fourth-place finish.
Mosta, led by experienced coach Mark Miller, are coming from a 2-1 defeat against Hibernians. The Blues, with four points from five games, will be aiming to gain their second win of the season and improve their position in the standings.