Chesterfield: Blues could achieve play-off security

Chetsrefield v Peterborough. Johnston paint trophy final. Ritchie Humphreys.
Chetsrefield v Peterborough. Johnston paint trophy final. Ritchie Humphreys.
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Chesterfield could be assured of at least a play-off place come 5pm on Saturday if they win at Hartlepool United and other results go their way.

Paul Cook’s Spireites are 12 points clear of eighth-placed Oxford United before this weekend’s fixtures, which will see the U’s travel to Plymouth Argyle in ninth spot.

A win for Chesterfield at the Victoria Ground would take them to 74 points and with a sizeable goal difference over their competitors with four games to go in the promotion race.

Spireites remained third, four points behind leaders Rochdale and second-placed Scunthorpe United, after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Newport County.

Cook will be without Jimmy Ryan (suspended) and Ollie Banks (injured), while Drew Talbot remains doubtful with a recurrence of an abductor injury. The return of Sam Togwell early from his loan at Wycombe Wanderers will add another option in midfield.

The game will mean more to Ritchie Humphreys than most as he returns to Hartlepool for the first time since his summer departure. Humphreys represented Pools 544 times in a 12-year stay at the Victoria Ground.

Saturday’s game sees two sides desperate for three points but for very different reasons.

Hartlepool’s mid-table appearance is perhaps misleading as just six points separate themselves and second from bottom Northampton Town. Colin Cooper’s Pools have lost their last four and will be eager for three points to put to bed any fears of a relegation scrap in the coming weeks.

They have been hit with injuries with Andy Monkhouse, Antony Sweeney (both hamstring) and Neil Austin (toe) all likely to be out, while Marlon Harewood and Christian Burgess are doubtful. Scott Flinders is back in after illness.