Sliema Wanderers’ top status in the BOV Premier League will be put under severe test when they will come up against Ħamrun Spartans at the National Stadium (kick-off: 2pm).
The Blues seem to be a transformed side from the one that last season battled with relegation as coach Andrea Pisanu has managed to assemble a very competitive team that has managed to show an impressive consistent form that saw them shoot to the top of the Premier League standings.
In fact, the Wanderers are heading into the match on the back of an impressive run of four wins from their last five outings and will be hopeful they can stretch that run even further against the third-placed Spartans, who are just three points behind.
Sliema coach Pisanu said that he is not looking much at his team’s position in the standings at the moment but his full focus is to see his team go through a process that will finally see them become a main contender for major honours.
“My main focus at the moment is not much against who we are playing but how the team is performing,” Pisanu told The Times of Malta.
“Every match is important, irrespective of the opponents, and what I’m really concerned with is how the team is reacting through the rejuvenation process that we have embarked.
“This journey started last July and we are only focused on our own performances. Our daily work is based on seeing our players pushing themselves to improve themselves and if that rewards the team with a high placing in the standings then very well but it’s not our obsession.
“There are other teams who are built with the aim to win trophies this season but not us. Our main goal is to go through this important process that has as its final aim to see Sliema Wanderers become once more a major force in Maltese football.
“It has been too many years since this club was ranked among the best and I’m sure that through all this work we are doing we can gradually elevate the team to the place it deserves.”
Pisanu said that he has no fresh injury worries and is confident he could field his strongest team on Tuesday.
Ħamrun, on the other hand, come into the match on the back of a disappointing showing against Lija Athletic which saw the Reds drop two vital points in a 2-2 draw.
Coach Mark Buttigieg was visibly disappointed with the attitude shown by his players against Lija and said that the only way the Spartans can genuinely challenge for a top placing this season is if they cut out silly errors from their game.
“We are coming into this match after a very disappointing showing against Lija Athletic,” the former Birkirkara coach said.
“The players didn’t approach the match in the right way and for long stretches they looked too casual and lacked the determination needed to kill off the opponents and in the end we paid dearly for that.
“Now our full focus turns on a very difficult match against Sliema Wanderers who are doing very well in the championship as the standings are showing.
“They are a team that deserves a lot of respect and I expect a strong response from the players to show that our slip against Lija Athletic was a one-off and that they are determined to keep up the pressure on the Premier League pacesetters.”
Sirens vs Sta Lucia 14.00
Żejtun C. Vs Lija Athletic 18.15
Ħamrun S. Vs Sliema W. 14.00
Gżira Utd vs Hibernians 18.15
Tarxien R. vs Floriana pp
Senglea A. vs Gudja Utd 21.15
Birkirkara vs Balzan 17.00
Mosta vs Valletta 21.15