PREMIER League referee Andre Marriner will take charge of promotion-chasing Middlesbrough’s SkyBet Championship clash with Leeds United on Saturday.
The 44-year-old – from the West Midlands – will be the man in the middle as Aitor Karanka’s second-placed team host an improving Leeds at the Riverside Stadium in the televised lunchtime kick-off.
He will be assisted in Teeside by Select Group linesmen Michael Salisbury (Lancashire) and Andy Halliday (North Yorkshire) while the fourth official will be Richard Clark (Northumberland).
It will be Marriner’s fourth Championship game of the season – with the last coming back in October.
He has, though, been largely out of favour in the Premier League this term and has only received 11 matches to date – including Crystal Palace’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle last Wednesday.
The Sheldon-based whistler – who is reportedly a Birmingham City supporter – will also be in control of the electronic board for Everton’s top-flight encounter with Leicester City at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Last weekend, Marriner was involved in a bizarre incident as the fourth official for Blackburn’s FA Cup tie with Stoke when he apparently told Anthony Taylor to send off Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan for two bookings even though he only had one to his name.
Overall, the Fifa official has brandished 74 yellow cards in 22 games in all competitions so far this campaign while awarding six penalties.
His only red card came in his previous outing in the Championship – sending off Bournemouth striker Yann Kermorgant in their 2-1 victory over Bolton at the Macron Stadium on October 4.
Marriner handled the high-profile FA Cup tie between Premier League leaders Chelsea and Bradford last month, which the League One side won 4-2 at Stamford Bridge after coming from two goals down.
His only major controversy of the campaign thus far occurred in December when awarding Manchester City a penalty after Phil Jagielka’s perceived challenge on James Milner which proved to be the decisive moment in a tight game while there were several other decisions which irked Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
Marriner was appointed to the National List of referees in 2003 after three seasons as a Football League linesman and was promoted to the Select Group two years later following a successful trial game in November 2004.
He was the fourth official for the 2008 Community Shield and joined the Fifa list of international referees in 2009 at the age of 37 – although he will retire from this duty at the mandatory age of 45 next year.
In 2010, he received his first major refereeing appointments when overseeing the Championship Play-Off Final as Blackpool beat Cardiff City and the FA Community Shield involving Manchester United and Chelsea – both at Wembley.
His award to one of the biggest and most-watched Premier League matches of all-time – the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium in April 2012 – was testiment to his form and he was then given the honour of taking charge of the 2013 FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic.
Marriner became only the third referee to issue a red card in the showpiece having dismissed City full-back Pablo Zabaleta for a second bookable offence before the Latics’ winner.
Last season, he infamously showed a red card to Kieran Gibbs instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who handballed on the goalline, in Arsenal’s 6-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea but his case of mistaken identity went unpunished by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and he returned to duty a week later.
Marriner – who handled Hull’s win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi-finals last season – was among the contenders to officiate the 2015 Capital One Cup Final next month but this was awarded last week to Anthony Taylor.
Boro – who face Birmingham at St Andrew’s on Wednesday – had won six games in a row for the first time in 20 years prior to last Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round.
Leeds have steadily progressed into the top half of the table in recent weeks after an upturn in form under head coach Neil Redfearn, winning four of their last five games.
The match will commence at 12:15 GMT on Saturday, February 21, with live coverage on Sky Sports 1 and HD1.