PREMIER League referee Craig Pawson has been appointed to the televised SkyBet Championship encounter between Brighton and fellow promotion chasers Burnley this weekend.
The 36-year-old, from South Yorkshire, will take charge when the leaders travel to the AMEX Stadium to face the second-placed Seagulls in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off (12:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be assisted on the south coast by Select Group linesmen Adam Nunn (Wiltshire) and Andrew Fox (Warwickshire), while Football League referee Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire) is the fourth official.
It will be Pawson’s fourth Championship game of the season – all of which will have been shown live on TV.
In his previous second-tier game, he sent off Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson for two bookable offences late on in their goalless draw at Leeds in mid-February.
It will be Pawson’s second AMEX visit this season after he oversaw Brighton’s 3-0 defeat by Middlesbrough in December – which ended their 22-game unbeaten start.
He was also in the middle for the Severnside derby slatemate between Cardiff City and Bristol City in south Wales back in October.
Overall, the Sheffield-based whistler has handled 37 games across eight competitions so far this term – issuing 129 yellow cards, sending off five players and awarding three penalties.
Pawson last encountered Burnley in their 4-2 FA Cup defeat against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in January when they were a Premier League team.
He has handled 23 Premier League games this season, only four officials have received more top-flight appointments.
Pawson has been trusted with several high-profile fixtures recently – including Liverpool’s goalless draw at Spurs in Jurgen Klopp’s first game in November and Manchester United’s win over Arsenal last month.
It was also confirmed in February that he will be an additional assistant referee as part of Martin Atkinson’s team of officials at Euro 2016 in France this summer.
Pawson has impressed during a rapid rise since being promoted to the Select Group at the start of 2013-14 season after proving his ability in five seasons in the Football League, the 2012 League One play-off final and a trial Premier League game in March 2013.
He was the fourth official for both the Capital One Cup and FA Cup Finals at Wembley last season, and flew to Singapore last summer with Jon Moss to referee at the Barclays Asia Trophy and educate Asian officials.
Fellow Premier League referee Kevin Friend will be in the middle for Saturday’s Yorkshire derby between Rotherham and Leeds in the SkyBet Championship (KO 15:00 BST).
It will be the 44-year-old’s first game back since he was hospitalised after falling in the dugout during Bournemouth’s Premier League win over Southampton on March 1.
The Leicester-based whistler will be assisted at the New York Stadium by National List linesmen James Mainwaring (Lancashire) and Shaun Hudson (Tyne & Wear), while David Webb (County Durham) is the fourth official.
Friend has handled four previous Championship games this term – including Leeds’ 1-1 draw with Burnley on the opening weekend.
He will be hoping for a quieter game than Keith Stroud, who issued seven yellow cards and two reds in Rotherham’s 1-0 win in November’s reverse fixture at Elland Road.
Simon Hooper will be the man in black for QPR’s Championship meeting with promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough on Friday night.
The 33-year-old IT manager, from Swindon, will oversee the first game of the Football League weekend following the international break at Loftus Road (KO 19:45 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be assisted in west London by Carl Fitch (Suffolk) and Daniel Robathan (Surrey), with Dean Whitestone (Northampton) on fourth official duties.
Hooper has officiated QPR’s league games at home to Cardiff and away a Brentford, and Middlesbrough’s FA Cup defeat by Burnley this season.