Ritchie prepares to face former side

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A bumper Boxing Day crowd is expected at the Proact Stadium as Chesterfield welcome Hartlepool United in League Two.

Paul Cook’s table topping Spireites will be looking to build on the momentum over the past two weeks which has seen them advance through to the northern area final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and string consecutive wins together in the league.

Defender Ritchie Humphreys has played his part in a back four which has racked up 12 clean sheets this season.

And the clash on December 26 will be the first time Humphreys has faced his former club, who he represented 544 times during a 12-year stay.

While Chesterfield are flying, Thursday’s opponents have had a mixed season so far to date. Colin Cooper’s Pools side went six games without a win at the start of the campaign.

Their first win came in mid-September and acted as a catalyst for October, which saw them sweep aside Mansfield Town 4-1 on the road, as they picked up four wins from five.

Hartlepool have stumbled since then, however, and have gone four games without a win in the league. They were held to a 1-1 draw at home on Saturday against Burton Albion.

Pools have racked up six clean sheets, compared to the Spireites’ 12, and boast one of the division’s top scorers in Luke James.

The 19-year-old is highly thought of at Victoria Park and has already bagged seven so far in the league.

Chesterfield fans will fondly remember the last time the two met at the Proact in November 2012, when Cook’s side ran out 6-1 winners in the first round of the FA Cup.