Spireites preview: Chesterfield v Portsmouth

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Chesterfield will welcome an extended rest before they face Portsmouth at the Proact Stadium on Monday night.

The League Two encounter, broadcast on Sky Sports, will see two of the division’s pre-season favourites for automatic promotion go head-to-head.

While the Spireites have lived up to the billing and cemented themselves within the top three, Pompey have endured very different fortunes.

A less than fruitful start to the season resulted in Guy Whittingham leaving the club on November 25 with the 2008 FA Cup winners lingering precariously above the drop zone.

Richie Barker took over first team duties in early December with Steve Coppell appointed director of football.

The pair have been unable to halt the slide, however, and, following Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at title-chasing Scunthorpe United, Portsmouth slumped to 21st in the league table.

Barker said afterwards: “We are just papering over the cracks at the minute.”

He demanded a response from his players when they entertained Accrington Stanley at Fratton Park on Tuesday night. Jake Jervis bagged the only goal of the game for Pompey. The three points moved them up to 18th.

Chesterfield will be looking to complete the double over Portsmouth, following a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture in August. Late goals from Armand Gnanduillet and Tendayi Darikwa sealed the win.

The game will be Pompey’s sixth visit to the town to play Chesterfield. They last played here in December 1982 and travelled home with a 1-0 win.