By Adeboye Amosu: It promises to an interesting weekend in the Nigeria Professional Football League with two Oriental derbies on the menu, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Second-placed Enugu Rangers will host Abia Warriors in the first matchday 26 game at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium on Friday.
A win for the Flying Antelopes will see them upstage leaders Wikki Tourists on top of the table albeit for 48 hours as the Bauchi-based side are not in action until Sunday against Warri Wolves.
The Coal City side have been boosted by the return to training of goalkeeper Itodo Akor and forward Bobby Clement.
The key duo missed last weekend's draw at Wikki due to injury.
Abia Warriors are on a poor run of form having conceded six goals without scoring any in their last two games. They lost 1-0 at home last weekend against Plateau United.
On Saturday, relegation threatened Heartland will entertain champions Enyimba at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.
Enyimba who defeated Abia Warriors 1-0 in their most recent Oriental derby have won two of their last six games in the NPFL.
Leaders Wikki Tourists face a tough task in their bid to stay in the top position when they come up against Warri Wolves at the Warri City Stadium.
Abdu Makaiba's men are without a win in their last two league games.
Third-placed Rivers United will welcome Niger Tornadoes to the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt in another game billed for Sunday.
They head into the game in gloomy mood following last weekend's 1-0 loss to Nasarawa United, while Tornadoes will hope to build on their 2-0 win against Warri Wolves.
In Ibadan, Shooting Stars will look to continue their resurgence under Gbenga Ogunbote when they entertain Nasarawa United at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba.
The Oluyole Warlords drew their last home game against FC IfeanyiUbah 2-2 with the visitors coming from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils and will be keen to avoid a repeat of that unfortunate scenario.
Nasarawa United are yet to pick a point on their travels this season.
At the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano Pillars will tackle Lobi Stars, while El-Kanemi Warriors and MFM FC will do battle at El-Kanemi
Stadium in Maiduguri.
Zachary Bareje's Plateau United will be up against Akwa United at the Rwang Pam Stadium.
The Jos- based side secured a rare away win against Akwa United last weekend and will be looking for another vital victory to boost their survival hopes.
In the last fixture for the weekend, basement side, Ikorodu United will host FC IfeanyiUbah at the Onikan Stadium.
The Oga Boys picked their second point on the road after holding Lobi Stars to a 1-1 draw in a rescheduled week 23 clash on Thursday.
They are however still without a win under Dutch coach Theo de Jong.
MATCHDAY 26 FIXTURES
Friday, July 8, 2016
Enugu Rangers V Abia Warriors
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Heartland V Enyimba
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Shooting Stars V Nasarawa United
Ikorodu United V FC IfeanyiUbah
El-Kanemi W. V MFM FC
Kano Pillars V Lobi Stars
Plateau United V Akwa United
Warri Wolves V Wikki Tourists
Rivers United V Niger Tornadoes