GEOFF Eltringham has been appointed as the referee for Saturday’s televised SkyBet League One encounter between Burton Albion and Oldham Athletic.
The 35-year-old, from Tyne and Wear, will take charge as leaders Burton host the relegation-threatened Latics in the lunchtime kick-off (12:30pm, live on Sky Sports 1).
He will be ably assisted at the Pirelli Stadium by Peter Wright (Merseyside) and Paul Hodskinson (Lancashire), while fellow Football League referee Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire) is the fourth official.
Eltringham has handled 32 matches so far this season – brandishing 83 yellow cards, sending off seven players and awarding 13 penalties.
The Sunderland-based whistler has handled 11 League One games to date in 2015-16 – more than any of the other five competitions he has officiated in – and is mainly seen in the lower two divisions.
It will be the second time he will encounter both teams after overseeing Burton’s 2-1 win at Blackpool last August and Oldham’s 4-2 home defeat by Scunthorpe in October.
Eltringham – who is also a sales representative for a Yorkshire timber firm – is largely known to use cards only when necessary but is not afraid to make big decisions.
He has become an established figure in the Football League with over 200 games under his belt, having been on the National List of referees since the 2008-09 campaign.
Father-of-one Eltringham – a lifelong Sunderland supporter and keen cricketer – is also chairman of the Sunderland Referees’ Association and a director of the Durham FA’s Referee Academy for young aspiring officials.
He took up the whistle as a teenager himself after giving up playing as a goalkeeper for his local team in the North East and progressed through the Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League, Northern and Unibond divisions to Conference level.
Eltringham became a Football League assistant referee in 2007 before being elevated to refereeing status a year later after impressing assessors – and is now in his eighth season in the middle.
In 2012, he was among the pool of Talent Group officials whose potential is closely monitored with a view to Premier League promotion – and Eltringham, who has been married to wife Emma for three years later, has not given up on reaching the Select Group.
Burton also have a second successive promotion in sight – with the Brewers on course for Championship football for the first time as they sit six points clear of second-placed Wigan, who visit Swindon on Good Friday, with nine games left.
Meanwhile, Oldham – who have played in the third tier since 1997 – are third from bottom and a point adrift of safety but have a game in hand on the three other teams in the relegation zone.
Both sides have changed managers since Burton won 1-0 at Boundary Park in October – a game refereed by Eddie Ilderton – with Nigel Clough replacing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in the Burton hotseat while John Sheridan ousted David Dunn as Latics boss.