We turn our attentions to the weekend with a full and in-depth preview of Saturday's trip to the Deva Stadium.
Chester v Hartlepool United
Vanarama National League
Saturday 30th December 2017
The Deva Stadium
Chester slipped eight points adrift of safety with a damaging home defeat to Guiseley on Boxing Day and boss Marcus Bignot has insisted they must “find any way” to beat Pools this weekend.
The 1-0 reverse against The Lions followed a 4-0 thumping at FC Halifax Town last Saturday and it leaves them sitting 22nd in the National League table.
They have won just four times in the league this season and only Solihull Moors have conceded more goals so Bignot will hope they can show resilience during the second half of 2017/18.
Chester fans will be hoping top scorer Ross Hannah can shake off a foot injury which forced his early substitution on Boxing Day in time to face Pools this weekend.
The front man has hit the net six times so far this season, including their last league goal in the 1-0 win over Solihull Moors three weeks ago.
If he proves his fitness in time for Saturday then Pools will need to keep a close eye on the 31-year-old who has scored goals wherever he’s gone during his career.
Head To Head
Having reformed in 2010 this weekend’s game is technically only the second between the two clubs following the 1-1 draw at Victoria Park in August.
However, there had been 101 previous meetings between Pools and Chester City, with the Blues enjoying 44 victories in comparison to Pools’ 34.
There hasn’t been a home victory in this fixture in the last six encounters – the last arriving in December 1998 when Stuart Brightwell’s ‘golden goal’ saw Pools through 2-1 in the FL Trophy.
Our most recent visit to the Deva Stadium saw us beaten 2-1 in October 2006 on a night when Jon Daly saw red for an alleged elbow on City defender Dave Artell – it was later rescinded on appeal.
Paul Marsden will take charge of his first-ever Pools game this weekend when he’s the man in the middle for our visit to Chester.
The official is in his first season as a National League referee and has so far overseen nine fixtures during the 2017/18 campaign.
Marsden’s most recent appointment came earlier this month when he presided over Dagenham & Redbridge’s 1-0 win at Barrow.
Former Pools star Billy Paynter will be alongside Mark Simpson to provide live commentary of Saturday’s game against Chester on Pools PlayerHD.
So if you can’t make it to the Deva Stadium then make sure you log-on to hear Paynter’s thoughts on the action as it progresses this weekend.
Pools fans will be able to buy their tickets on the turnstiles prior to kick-off at the Deva Stadium on Saturday.