MALTESE Premier League title holders Valletta are unlikely to face Sheffield United in a pre-season friendly next week after progressing to the second round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Mark Miller’s side were among six teams regarded by the island’s football association as prospective opponents for the League One side during their stay in the Med.
But with the first leg of Valletta’s double-header with Partizan Belgrade taking place at Hibernians Stadium this evening, Miller would prefer not to risk injuries by playing another match before the return in Serbia.
United held a further round of talks with MFA officials yesterday aimed at filling the two vacant match slots on their itinerary.
Sliema Wanderers, Birkirkara, Floriana, Hibernians and Balzan Youths are among those teams also under consideration.
Former Barnsley and Coventry City Michael Mifsud, who scored four of Valletta’s nine goals against Andorra’s FC Lusitans, acknowledged the odds are stacked against Miller’s charges this time around.
“Partizan boast a football history which speaks for itself,” he said.
“Despite this, we all believe in ourselves and in our abilities so, rest assured, we will be giving it everything in both legs.
“We will look to push them.”
United fly to Malta on Friday, 48 hours after playing the first game of their summer schedule at Ilkeston.
More than 100 United supporters are expected to accompany Danny Wilson’s charges on the Malta trip which also includes a number of themed events.
United play their first competitive fixture of the 2012/13 campaign when Burton Albion visit Bramall Lane in the first round of the Capital One Cup on August 11.