ONE of the most experienced English referees will be in the middle when the lowest-ranked side left in the Capital One Cup take to the field in the quarter-finals next week.
League One Sheffield United – FA Cup semi-finalists last season – host Premier League high-flyers Southampton at Bramall Lane next Tuesday night.
And the man in charge will be Merseyside whistler Chris Foy – who oversaw the 2009 League Cup final on one of his four visits to Wembley Stadium.
With the assistance of Stephen Child, Mick McDonough and fourth official David Coote, Foy will be at the helm for a fourth League Cup last-eight tie of a refereeing career which began way back in 1983.
He was criticised for sending off Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham when it appeared Hammers striker Diafra Sakho had handled the ball.
It was one of five red cards the 52-year-old has brandished in 11 Premier League games this term – and led to accusations from Swansea full-back Angel Rangel that he is “card-happy” and seeking “attention”.
Elsewhere, Newcastle’s trip to Tottenham will be officiated by Andre Marriner – with assistants Scott Ledger and Gary Beswick and fourth official Stuart Attwell in tow.
The man from the West Midlands has seemingly fallen out of favour among the PGMOL since his notorious identity error at Stamford Bridge in March, having handled just five Premier League games so far this term.
He will drop down into the Football League for the fifth time this coming weekend when taking charge of Fleetwood’s clash with Sheffield United in the third tier.
But the appointment for the all-Premier League contest at White Hart Lane is a sign that things are starting to pick up for the 43-year-old.
Elsewhere, Liverpool will be followed down to the south coast for their second trip in as many seasons to Bournemouth by both the Sky Sports cameras – and the familiar face of Mark Clattenburg.
The Reds won 2-0 in the FA Cup third round last January with Lee Probert, who went on to referee the final, in charge on that day.
Clattenburg is usually in the spotlight for one reason or another – whether that be rushing off to see an Ed Sheeran concert or playing a great advantage in the build-up to a winning goal.
The 39-year-old – often associated with celebrity status as well as controversy – will no doubt have his work cut out again when the Premier League strugglers visit the Championship play-off hopefuls.
The County Durham whistler, who oversaw the Uefa Super Cup back in August, will be joined by Simon Beck and Ron Ganfield while Graham Scott will be on electronic board duties.
The other televised clash will see the league leaders in the top-flight and second tier go head-to-head with Derby and Chelsea locking horns at the iPro Stadium.
Like Bournemouth and Liverpool, the two sides also met in the FA Cup – and like that tie it finished 2-0 to the Premier League visitors.
Jon Moss will be the referee for the re-match – the 44-year-old having established himself among the elite since his 2012 promotion from the National List.
The only competition he has refereed in this season is the Premier League with 11 games becoming 12 this Saturday when he oversees champions City’s trip to bottom-club Leicester.
He has already dished out five red cards, including one to QPR striker Charlie Austin against his old employers Burnley last weekend.
Officiating in the latter stages of the Capital One Cup is nothing new for the headteacher from West Yorkshire after he was appointed to the semi-final second leg in which holders City put six past West Ham at the Etihad.
Linesmen John Brooks and Stuart Burt will be on duty with him and David Coote will be the fourth official.