SkyBet Championship: Bobby Madley to referee Brighton v Newcastle

The Premier League referee will take charge of the crucial top-of-the-table battle at the AMEX Stadium between two sides destined for the top-flight.

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In the middle: Madley took charge of the first Premier League game of 2017 in a goalless draw between Middlesbrough and Leicester at the Riverside (Picture from Sky Sports)

A Premier League referee will take charge of the crucial SkyBet Championship clash between leaders Brighton and second-placed Newcastle United.

Bobby Madley has been appointed to keep the peace as the two hot favourites for promotion do battle at the AMEX Stadium in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Tuesday night (KO 19:45 GMT).

The 31-year-old will be assisted on the south coast by Select Group linesmen Marc Perry (west Midlands) and Adrian Holmes (west Yorkshire), while Lee Probert (Wiltshire) is the fourth official.

Madley – who hails from west Yorkshire – will take charge of his 28th game of the campaign in all competitions.

Overall, he has so far brandished a massive 119 yellow cards, sent off four players in four different competitions and awarded eight penalties (seven in the Premier League).

It will be Madley’s first Championship game of the season and he has only ventured down into the Football League once before.

He was criticised by Scunthorpe United boss Graham Alexander for his display in the League One leaders’ 3-1 defeat at Southend United earlier this month and dismissing midfielder Neal Bishop for perceived violent conduct late on at Roots Hall.

Bobby Madley referee (Hull v Sheffield Weds - 28th May 2016)
Honour: Madley was a surprise choice as he became the youngest referee to handle a Championship Play-Off Final last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Ossett-born whistler, who joined the Fifa list of international referees last year, was only in the middle for two Championship games but one was another pivotal encounter for Brighton which proved decisive in the promotion battle.

On his last visit to the AMEX, Madley oversaw the Seagulls’ 1-1 draw with Derby County in their penultimate league game in May last year, sending off Brighton defender Lewis Dunk for a second bookable offence late on before James Wilson’s late equaliser for the hosts.

Just five days later, he oversaw his last match involving Newcastle, which was a difficult one for him to contend with in a goalless draw at already-relegated Aston Villa as beach balls were thrown onto the pitch in protest by the home fans at Villa Park.

However, he will still be remembered by most Magpies fans from last season’s Wear-Tyne derby against Sunderland for the controversial dismissal of Fabricio Coloccini which led to a penalty and subsequently turned the game in favour of the Black Cats, who ran out 3-0 winners at the Stadium of Light.

Last May, Madley also handled his first game at Wembley as a referee and put in a solid performance in the Championship Play-Off Final as Hull City earned promotion with a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday, with the appointment coming despite his Yorkshire connections.

It was his second trip to the national stadium last term having been fourth official to Michael Oliver for the League Cup final between Liverpool and Manchester City, capping a consistent and excellent season for him.

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Recent: Madley’s last encounter with a Championship side was earlier this month in Fulham’s 3-0 FA Cup defeat at home to London rivals Tottenham (Picture from BBC Sport)

The Wakefield-born official has established himself as one of the better referees in the Select Group in the last two seasons and will no doubt benefit from the departure of Mark Clattenburg at the end of the season with more regular high-profile matches.

Madley’s most recent game was at Selhurst Park on Saturday for Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in the Premier League, in which he somehow booked James McArthur for diving rather than award Palace a penalty when the midfielder was fouled by Stewart Downing in the box.

He only joined the National List of referees in 2010 but has made plenty of progress since.

Madley sent off three players on his Premier League debut when West Brom beat Southampton 3-0 at St Mary’s in April 2013 before being promoted to the Select Group of referees for the 2013-14 campaign.

He is the younger brother of Select Group 2 referee Andy, who endured a busy weekend after being fourth official for Wolves against Birmingham at Molineux on Friday night and sending off Aston Villa’s Leandro Bacuna for pushing a linesman in their 1-0 win over Derby County on Saturday.

Bobby Madley speaks to Yaya Toure (v Everton CO Cup SF 1st leg - 6th Jan 2016)
In control: Madley has shown he can remain calm under pressure, overseeing a League Cup semi-final and a Merseyside derby last season without difficulty (Picture from Sky Sports)

Huddersfield Town fan Bobby has previously handled seven Brighton games stretching back to 2012, all in the Championship, while he has controlled six matches involving Newcastle – four in the Premier League and two in the League Cup.

A referee since 2001, Madley’s experience of the Football League will be required in what is likely to be a fiery and tense occasion under the floodlights on the south coast for the standout game of the midweek fixtures on Tuesday night, with the pressure high on both teams to deliver a positive result.

Newcastle had the edge when the sides met back in August at St James’s Park, with goals from captain Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey securing a 2-0 win over 10-man Brighton.

The vastly-experienced former Premier League official Keith Stroud was in charge and issued six yellows as well as dismissing Sam Baldock for a second bookable offence for a challenge on Newcastle keeper Matz Sels.

Brighton, managed by former Magpies boss Chris Hughton, went top of the Championship on Saturday after a 3-0 win over promotion rivals Reading in the evening kick-off, following Newcastle’s 2-2 draw at home to struggling Bristol City.

Rafael Benitez’s men came from two goals down to earn the point which keeps them one point behind leaders Brighton with 13 games remaining.

Meanwhile, after the game at the AMEX, Madley will be back in Premier League action at the weekend after being appointed to Saturday’s evening showdown between heavyweights Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield.

SkyBet Championship: Peter Bankes to referee Newcastle United v Aston Villa

The Merseyside whistler will be in the middle for a crunch televised SkyBet Championship clash at St James’s Park between two sides relegated from the Premier League last season.

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Prominent: Bankes, who is now in his third season as a Football League referee, oversaw the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final between Barnsley and Walsall at Oakwell last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

The referee has been announced for the crunch SkyBet Championship clash between Newcastle United and Aston Villa on Monday night.

Peter Bankes will take charge of the televised encounter under the floodlights at St James’s Park with kick-off at 20:00 GMT, the Football League has confirmed.

He will be ably assisted by Paul Hodskinson (Lancashire) and David Avent (Northamptonshire), with Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire) on fourth official duties.

A Select Group 2 official primarily officiating in the second-tier, Bankes will oversee his 28th game in all competitions of what has been a busy campaign for him so far.

The 34-year-old has so far brandished 100 yellow cards and a staggering 10 red cards – which is twice the amount he gave in the whole of last season, while only Keith Stroud and Scott Duncan have sent off more players among the 18 Select Group 2 referees.

He has also pointed to the penalty spot on seven occasions – but only one of those spotkicks was in the second tier.

It will be the Merseyside whistler’s 19th Championship match of the season and he won’t forget his only other game involving Newcastle – their memorable 4-3 victory over Norwich at St James’s Park back in September.

Bankes booked 10 players and awarded the Magpies a dubious second-half penalty as they came from 3-1 down with two goals in injury time sealing a comeback victory.

Immediately after that game, he handled the first of his two Aston Villa matches this term – both ending up in 2-0 defeats away from home, which may be a bad omen for Villa boss Steve Bruce, who is bound to receive a hostile reception as a former Sunderland manager on Tyneside.

The notoriously card-happy Bankes issued another eight bookings in their loss at Preston at the start of October and awarded Villa a late spotkick, which Ross McCormack saw saved by Lilywhites keeper Chris Maxwell.

He was then in the middle for their defeat at Leeds United in front of the Sky Sports cameras in December and put in a good performance, with just four yellows given out.

Bankes returned to Elland Road on Tuesday evening as fourth official for Leeds’ match against Bristol City, while he assumed the same role at St James’s Park as recently as February 1 for Newcastle’s 2-2 draw with QPR.

The Liverpool-based official has shown plenty of promise in recent times and has received high praise from former Premier League referees Keith Hackett and Jeff Winter for impressive keeping some challenging games under control.

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Fleeting: It will only be Bankes’s third appearance in front of the live TV cameras in all competitions this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Bankes began officiating in 1996 at the age of 14 whilst a pupil at Bootle High School and served as a Premier League assistant referee for two years, during which he ran the line on FA Cup and League Cup semi-final ties.

Arguably the proudest moment of his career so far was refereeing Cambridge’s 2-1 win over Gateshead in the National League Promotion Final at Wembley in May 2014.

He was subsequently promoted to the Football League list of referees and has since taken charge of two Play-Off Semi-Final ties in League One and League Two, as well as being fourth official for last season’s FA Vase Final.

Bankes has already shown his officiate in the Select Group in the future having overseen several Premier League teams in domestic cup competitions, including Sunderland’s 2-1 EFL Cup win at QPR this season, and been fourth official for numerous top-flight games.

He had a busy time when performing electronic board duties at Turf Moor on Saturday, intervening on more than one occasion as Burnley and Lincoln City coaches clashed during the National League side’s famous 1-0 FA Cup fifth round win.

Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle will be looking to reclaim top spot in the Championship from Brighton, who won 2-0 at Barnsley on Saturday, and return to winning ways after a 2-2 draw at Norwich in midweek.

Hovering just six points above the relegation zone, Aston Villa would be forgiven for fearing the worst having lost their last four league games and seven of the last eight on the road. The Midlands side, beaten 3-1 at home by Barnsley in midweek, have also not beaten Newcastle since 2011 or won on Tyneside since 2005.

The reverse fixture at Villa Park was also overseen by a Select Group 2 referee, with Chris Kavanagh performing well in September’s 1-1 draw between two sides seeking an immediate return to the Premier League following relegation last season.

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Role: Bankes is a former Football Services Officer in Coach Education at Liverpool County Football Association (Picture from Sky Sports)

Scottish Premiership: Willie Collum to referee Motherwell v Rangers

Willie Collum will take charge of Saturday’s lunchtime encounter at Fir Park, with Bobby Madden appointed to Celtic’s televised match against Hearts on Sunday.

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Solid: Collum issued just one yellow card and was on top of proceedings during Celtic’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win at Albion Rovers last weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

WILLIE Collum will be the referee for Rangers’ televised Scottish Premiership match at Motherwell on Saturday.

The Euro 2016 official, who turned 38 last week, will be in the middle as the Gers make the trip to Fir Park for the lunchtime game live on Sky Sports (KO 12:45 GMT).

He will be assisted by David McGeachie and Gordon Crawford, with Euan Anderson on fourth official duties.

Collum – who won’t have far to travel from his Lanarkshire residence – will oversee his 29th game of the season in all competitions.

He has so far brandished 90 yellow cards, sent off five players and awarded nine penalties.

The Religious Education teacher will have no excuse for taking his eye off the ball after visiting a Specsavers store this week, in recognition of the partnership the opticians share with the Scottish FA.

It will be a 13th top-flight match of the campaign for Collum, who has handled a League Cup Final, two Scottish Cup Finals and the 2015 Uefa Super Cup.

The Glasgow-born whistler will control his fourth Rangers game of the campaign – and first of 2017 – after sending off Philippe Senderos in their 5-1 Old Firm derby defeat at Celtic in September before 1-0 victories at Inverness in October and home to Dundee in November.

Meanwhile, Collum will be in the middle for a third Motherwell match of 2016-17 after their 4-2 derby win over Hamilton in September – in which he awarded the Steelmen a spotkick – and 1-1 draw at St Johnstone last month.

It will be the third time he takes charge of a fixture involving the two sides – after Rangers’ 2-1 win in a League Cup semi-final at Hampden in 2011 and a goalless draw at Ibrox in the league in 2012, both of which passed without major incident.

Mark Warburton’s second-placed Rangers will be looking to extend the gap over Aberdeen in third, which currently stands at two points, while Mark McGhee’s Motherwell could move into the top six with a first top-flight win over the Gers since December 2002.

The sides met as recently as last weekend as Kenny Miller scored twice for Rangers, who came from behind to beat the Steelmen in their Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Ibrox.


Madden gets another top-flight test

Bobby Madden in action
Well-known: Madden has established himself as a referee domestically in the Scottish top-flight and on the European stage in the Europa League (Picture from Sky Sports)

Bobby Madden will take charge of Celtic’s televised encounter with Hearts on Sunday.

The 38-year-old will be in the middle when the champions host the Jambos at Parkhead in front of the Sky cameras (KO 13:00 GMT).

His assistants will be Graham Chambers and Stephen Mitchell, while Greg Aitken will be on fourth official duties.

Madden was also in the middle for a 3-1 Celtic win over Hearts last season in his only other experience of a fixture between the sides.

He enjoyed a largely quiet display but booked six players and sent off Hearts defender Juwon Oshaniwa late on for a second yellow card.

It will only be the 18th game Madden will have officiated this season, after missing two months as he bravely battled thyroid cancer.

Overall, he has dished out 48 yellow cards, two red cards and pointed to the penalty spot 11 times in his 17 matches so far.

The East Kilbride whistler, who was an additional assistant referee at Euro 2016, will handle his third Celtic game of the campaign after their 4-1 win over 10-man Aberdeen in August and 2-1 success against Dundee in December – both also at Celtic Park.

His only Hearts match so far was their 3-0 victory over Motherwell at Tynecastle in November – in which only two players were cautioned.

Madden’s biggest career honour to date came in Celtic’s 2-0 win over 10-man Dundee United in the 2015 League Cup showpiece at Hampden Park.

Both sides were in action in midweek – with Hearts beating Raith Rovers 4-2 after extra time in a Scottish Cup replay, while Celtic edged past St Johnstone 1-0 in their game in hand in the league.

You can see the rest of the SPFL appointments for this weekend here.

Scottish Cup: Thomson and Collum to referee Rangers and Celtic

Craig Thomson will be in the middle for Rangers against Motherwell at Ibrox, while Willie Collum has been appointed to Celtic’s fourth-round tie at Albion Rovers.

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Centre stage: Thomson (left) and Collum have attracted controversy in the past but have represented Scotland well on the European and international scene (Pictures from Sky Sports)

The heavyweights will be out in force as the match official appointments for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup have been announced.

Craig Thomson will take charge of the first tie of the weekend as Rangers face another Premiership side in Motherwell at Ibrox on Saturday (KO 12:30 GMT).

And fellow elite official Willie Collum will be in the middle for Celtic’s trip to League One Albion Rovers on Sunday – also live on Sky Sports – with kick-off at 15:00 GMT.

The other TV game will see John Beaton oversee Hearts’ match at Championship outfit Raith Rovers in front of the BBC Scotland cameras earlier on Sunday (KO 13:05 GMT).


Thomson makes Ibrox return

Craig Thomson referee
Veteran: Thomson is the longest-serving of the current crop of Scottish officials having refereed his first top-flight match in May 2002 (Picture from Sky Sports)

It will be the fourth time Thomson will encounter Rangers this season but his first trip to Ibrox for a year since giving them two penalties in their 4-1 win over Livingston on the way to the Championship title.

The vastly-experienced whistler handled their 2-1 win at Dundee in August, 1-0 loss to Celtic in the Old Firm League Cup semi-final, and 2-0 defeat at Hearts in November.

His only Motherwell matches were their 2-1 victory at Kilmarnock on the opening weekend and 1-1 draw at Partick Thistle in September.

Overall, the trained lawyer from Renfrewshire has brandished 95 yellow cards, sent off seven players and awarded six penalties in 24 games in all competitions.

Thomson has previously officiated three Scottish Cup Finals – including Rangers’ 1-0 victory over Falkirk in the 2009 showpiece at Hampden.

He will be assisted by Alan Mulvanny and Andrew McWilliam, with Stephen Finnie on fourth official duties.

Earlier this season, Thomson was involved in a bitter spat with pundit Chris Sutton, who called him a ‘bottler’ after opting not to send off Rangers midfielder Harry Forrester for a second bookable offence in their 2-1 success at Dens Park.

He was also branded ‘the Scottish butcher’ by angry Besiktas players after a controversial performance in their pivotal 6-0 defeat at Dynamo Kiev during the Champions League group stages.


Collum reunited with Celtic

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Spotlight: Collum has largely stayed under the radar after being dropped for a period last term following a number of contentious decisions (Picture from Sky Sports)

Collum usually officiates Celtic on a monthly basis but it will only be the third occasion he will oversee the champions so far this term.

The 2015 Uefa Super Cup and Euro 2016 referee put in a fine display in their 5-1 thumping of Rangers at Parkhead in September.

But he was criticised by Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers for sending off Calum McGregor in their 1-1 draw at Hamilton on Christmas Eve.

It will be the first time the Religious Education teacher will be in the middle for an Albion Rovers game, which will be staged at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium to allow extra fans to watch – a stone’s throw from where he resides in North Lanarkshire.

In 27 matches across six competitions this season, Glasgow-born Collum has dished out 89 bookings, issued five red cards and pointed to the penalty spot nine times.

The 37-year-old has handled two Scottish Cup Finals – the first of which was Celtic’s 3-0 win over Hibernian in 2013.

He will be assisted by Michael Banks and John McCrossan, while Gavin Duncan will act as the fourth official.

To his credit, the notoriously card-happy Collum has rarely attracted controversy this term.

The only notable occasion came when he was slated by fans on social media after harshly penalising Jamie MacDonald for a perceived foul on James Maddison, which led to Aberdeen’s opening goal in their 4-0 win at Kilmarnock in October.

You can see the rest of the Scottish Cup match official appointments here.

FA Cup: Match officials appointed for third round replays

Ben Toner and Graham Scott will take charge of the two televised games at Sincil Bank and Home Park with all nine ties to be settled in midweek.

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Man in black: Graham Scott (middle) has been assigned to Liverpool’s televised replay at Plymouth on Wednesday as the sides drew 0-0 at Anfield in the original tie (Picture from Sky Sports)

The match officials have been announced for this week’s FA Cup third round replays.

There are nine ties to be decided in total, which will take place on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 January.

Two have been selected for live television coverage.

Football League referee Ben Toner will be in the middle for National League side Lincoln City’s match against Championship outfit Ipswich Town at Sincil Bank on Tuesday evening, live on BBC One.

Meanwhile, Premier League official Graham Scott will take charge of League Two Plymouth’s replay against Premier League giants Liverpool at Home Park on Wednesday night, in front of the BT Sport cameras.

Here are the details in full…

TUESDAY 17 JANUARY:

AFC Wimbledon v Sutton United (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)
Assistant referees: John Flynn (Oxfordshire) & Christopher Husband (Worcestershire)
Fourth official: John Busby (Oxfordshire)

Barnsley v Blackpool (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)
Assistant referees: Akil Howson (Leicestershire) & Wayne Grunnill (East Yorkshire)
Fourth official: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)

Burnley v Sunderland (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Assistant referees: Peter Kirkup (Northamptonshire) & Simon Bennett (Staffordshire)
Fourth official: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

Lincoln City v Ipswich Town (KO 20:05 GMT, live on BBC One)
Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire)
Assistant referees: Billy Smallwood (Cheshire) & Alix Pashley (Derbyshire)
Fourth official: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)

Fleetwood Town v Bristol City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)
Assistant referees: James Mainwaring (Lancashire) & Helen Byrne (Durham)
Fourth official: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear)

Crystal Palace v Bolton Wanderers (KO 20:00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Assistant referees: Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) & Harry Lennard (East Sussex)
Fourth official: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)

WEDNESDAY 18 JANUARY:

Newcastle United v Birmingham City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Assistant referees: Nick Hopton (Derbyshire) & James Bell (South Yorkshire)
Fourth official: David Webb (County Durham)

Plymouth Argyle v Liverpool (KO 19:45 GMT, live on BT Sport)
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)
Assistant referees: Simon Beck (Bedfordshire) & Simon Long (Cornwall)
Fourth official: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Southampton v Norwich City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)
Assistant referees: Sian Massey-Ellis (West Midlands) & Marc Perry (West Midlands)
Fourth official: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

You can see a full list of FA Cup fourth round fixtures here. 

Scottish Premiership: Motherwell close in on National League winger

Mark McGhee could make Forest Green Rovers star Elliot Frear his first signing of the January transfer window.

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Lacking in depth: McGhee has limited options in the wide areas and lost Marvin Johnson to Oxford United last summer (Picture from Sky Sports)

Scottish Premiership side Motherwell are reportedly closing in on the signing of one of the National League’s most sought after players.

Winger Elliot Frear has been a key component this season for a Forest Green Rovers currently second in the fifth tier of English football and challenging for a return to the Football League.

The 26-year-old has made 19 appearances this season but apparently took a Diego Costa and Dimitri Payet like stance by refusing to play in Saturday’s 2-0 FA Trophy win at Chester, amid growing speculation he is about to make a move north of the border.

Speaking about Frear’s absence, Forest Green boss Mark Cooper said: “Elliot has said he doesn’t want to play for the club anymore and we have to move on.

“There has now been interest as far as I know and we need players that want to be with us going forward.”

But in his defence, Frear tweeted: “Just to confirm I haven’t refused to play today, still struggling from injury last weekend. I’m a professional & would never refuse to play.”

The Englishman, who was linked with a switch to League Two Cheltenham in the summer, began his career with Exeter City before moving to Salisbury City in 2014.

A former England C international, Frear then signed a two-year contract at the New Lawn the following year and helped Forest Green reach the National League Promotion Final last season, when they lost 3-1 to Grimsby Town at Wembley.

He is set to become the Steelmen’s first signing of the January transfer window as Mark McGhee looks to boost his squad before next weekend’s Scottish Cup fourth round tie against Rangers at Ibrox.

With the Scottish top-flight currently on a three-week winter break, Motherwell lie ninth in the table, two points behind sixth-placed Ross County, but will be hopeful of securing a top-half finish in the second half of the season.

SkyBet Championship: New Leeds United co-owner backs Massimo Cellino

Andrea Radrizzani has given his backing to his fellow Leeds United co-owner for the cost-cutting measures he has implemented at the club.

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Support: Radrizzani has backed Cellino for his strategy as owner (Picture from Sky Sports)

Andrea Radrizzani has backed his fellow Leeds United co-owner and felt Massimo Cellino had no choice but to upset people as he cleaned up the club’s finances.

Cellino, who took complete control of the Championship side in April 2014, has since trimmed the staff at Elland Road in a bid to cut costs.

The Italian completed the sale of 50 per cent of the club to compatriot Radrizzani, who has praised his new boardroom partner for enabling the West Yorkshire outfit to be on a sounder financial footing.

In his first press gathering since arriving at the club this week, businessman Radrizzani said: “The club has had a rollercoaster in the last decade.

“When Massimo Cellino acquired the club he didn’t expect even himself to find so many financial troubles and losses.

“At the moment the club is not at breakeven but is not in a bad financial situation. The club is recovering. In the last two years since Massimo came in he wasn’t nice to many people but he had to be tough to cut costs.

“It seemed to be difficult then but it’s much better now. At the same time the Football League is a loss-making league. It’s difficult to make money in this league, almost impossible.

“We need to be creative to make the financial numbers look good.”

Cellino – who sacked 43 managers in 22 years at his previous club Cagliari – has been a controversial and divisive figure during his time at the club.

He was given an 18-month ban by the Football Association last month for breaking agent regulations in the signing of Ross McCormack in the summer of 2014.

Cellino has already given the boot to six bosses in West Yorkshire in Brian McDermott, David Hockaday, Darko Milanic, Neil Redfearn, Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans before appointing former Swansea boss Garry Monk last summer.

High-flying Leeds are third in the table after taking their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions with Friday night’s 1-0 home win over fellow promotion contenders Derby County.

READ MORE: Local journalist’s insight into new Leeds United co-owner