MICHAEL Oliver has been confirmed as the referee for the televised Championship encounter between promotion hopefuls Burnley and Derby County next Monday.
The Premier League official will be in the middle at Turf Moor as the sides currently third and fourth respectively meet in front of the Sky Sports cameras (KO 19:45 GMT).
He will be ably assisted by the experienced Darren Cann and Scott Ledger, while the fourth official is Tony Harrington – who will also be on electronic board duties at Old Trafford on Saturday for Manchester United’s Premier League game with Southampton.
Oliver, 30, from Northumberland, handled his 15th top-flight match of the campaign on Monday night in Swansea’s 1-0 win over Watford.
Oliver has now brandished 71 yellow cards and six red cards in 19 games in all competitions this season, awarding seven penalties in the process.
The Ashingdon-based whistler didn’t officiate a game for six weeks across October and November after being selected to officiate at the Fifa U17 World Cup in Chile – where he took charge of three games including the final between Mali and Nigeria.
The eagerly-awaited match in east Lancashire will be the first that Oliver will handle in the Football League since Burnley’s 1-0 Championship win over local rivals Blackpool in April 2014.
However, it will be the first time that the former Newcastle youth player will oversee a Derby County match since he was on the National List of officials – a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in September 2009.
Earlier this season, Oliver made headlines when stepping in to replace an injured official at a women’s match being refereed by his wife Lucy, while he stepped down as head of Northumberland FA’s referee academy in November 2014.
Oliver – whose father Clive was a Football League referee until retiring in 2009 – became the youngest official in Premier League history when he was in the middle for Birmingham’s 2-1 victory over Blackburn in August 2010.
He had spent three years in the Football League and four years at non-league level before gaining promotion to the Select Group at the start of the 2010-11 season – and has progressed to Fifa level having impressed in handling over 120 top-flight matches.
Oliver’s most prestigious appointments came last term when overseeing Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Manchester City in the Community Shield and the FA Trophy Final between Wrexham and North Ferriby United, both at Wembley Stadium.
Oliver has also handled two FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley and was an additional assistant referee for the 2014 Uefa Super Cup – a role he could fulfill as part of Mark Clattenburg or Martin Atkinson’s officiating team for Euro 2016.
The two teams also met on a Monday night in September, contesting a goalless draw at the iPro Stadium which was officiated by Dean Whitestone.
The Clarets, who beat Burnley 3-1 last Friday, are seeking an immediate Premier League return while the Rams are hoping to make up for their 2014 play-off final defeat to gain promotion for the first time since 2008 in boss Paul Clement’s first season at the helm.