Pools kick-off their Christmas programme with a tough trip to Field Mill to take on Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town.
The Stags have won five of their last six league games, nine of their last 10 in all competitions including League One scalps over Sunderland and Doncaster Rovers, and sit at the top of the League Two form table.
In contrast, despite a positive start to life as manager, Graeme Lee’s side sit at the bottom of the form table with just one win from their last six games.
And a form team is not the only thing Pools will be coming up against on Boxing Day as they will be reunited with ex-striker Rhys Oates who finds himself in a purple patch in front of goal having scored four in his last six appearances.
Oates enjoyed a remarkable season with Pools last year and played a huge role in firing the club back to the Football League with 18 goals across the season.
Oates’ crowning moment came in Pools’ memorable play-off campaign where he scored three times as the club sealed promotion back to League Two.
Oates’ first half double over Bromley in the play-off eliminator at the Suit Direct Stadium capped a stunning performance which the 27-year-old would add to seven days later by grabbing the winner over Stockport County at Edgeley Park.
But unfortunately for Pools, Oates was unable to agree a new deal over the summer and despite his heroics for the club, left somewhat acrimoniously for Mansfield.
And Oates has found his form for the Stags ahead of Pools’ visit.
“Oates has been superb and Stags look less dangerous without him,” Chad’s Mansfield reporter John Lomas explains.
“But he has suffered a series of niggling knocks that have seen him in and out the side.
“With fellow striker Danny Johnson also in and out with injury, and third key striker Oli Hawkins pulled back to play as centre half, it has been tricky to get anything going up front.
“But when he has played fully fit, Oates is a machine, a ball of energy, never giving defenders a chance to settle and chasing everything."