REFEREE David Coote will take charge of his first East Anglian derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City this weekend.
The 34-year-old will be the man in the middle when the Suffolk and Norfolk rivals meet on Sunday lunchtime at Portman Road in the SkyBet Championship (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be ably assisted by new Select Group 2 assistant referees Nigel Lugg (Surrey) and Ian Cooper (Kent), while the fourth official is Oliver Langford – who will fulfil the same role for Nottingham Forest against Wigan on Saturday.
Coote – from Halifax in west Yorkshire – is one of 18 full-time referees forming the new Select Group 2 which will predominantly officiate in the Championship and help drive up standards across the English Football League.
He will handle his fourth game of the season and third in the EFL – all in the second-tier – having so far issued eight yellow cards, no reds and awarded one penalty.
Coote oversaw Leeds’ win over Fleetwood on penalties in the EFL Cup first round on August 10, Bristol City’s 2-1 win at Burton Albion three days later and Derby’s 1-0 victory over Preston at Deepdale on Tuesday night.
He will also be fourth official to Keith Stroud on Saturday for the Midlands derby between Birmingham and Wolves at St Andrews – his fourth appointment in that role this term.
Stroud himself was the referee for the previous East Anglian derby on Ipswich territory in the Championship almost two years ago to the day.
Coote began refereeing in 1996 at the age of 14, when he spent two months as an assistant referee for his dad David and uncle Mick’s team in the Newark Alliance.
The cricket-loving whistler – originally from Winthorpe, near Newark in Nottinghamshire – made his journey through the Notts Alliance League, Northern Counties East Football League and Northern Premier League.
It eventually took him to the Select Group of assistant referees in 2009-10 after three years as a Football League linesman, which started at Stockport County’s Edgeley Park for a League Two game against Hereford.
He became a Football League referee in 2010 and has since forged a reputation as a reliable and lenient official across the three divisions.
He also ran the line for the 2009 FA Vase Final when Whitley Bay beat Glossop North End 2-0, as well as the FA Trophy Final between Barrow and Stevenage a year later and being fifth official for Portsmouth’s 2-0 win over Tottenham in the 2010 FA Cup semi-finals.
Coote – who has ambitions to referee in the Premier League in future – left his role as Manchester FA’s County Development Manager last month after two years and two months.
Rarely the subject of criticism, he was in the spotlight last season after awarding a controversial penalty to Birmingham which proved decisive in their 1-0 Championship win against Cardiff.
Coote last encountered Ipswich in January for their 2-2 draw at home to League Two Portsmouth in the FA Cup third round at Portman Road.
But he has not overseen a Norwich game since their 4-2 win over Fulham in May 2015 – their final game of the regular league season when they were last in the Championship.
With the ties refereed by Premier League referees Anthony Taylor and Roger East respectively, they were the last occasions the two fierce rivals locked horns.
Referee David Coote discusses the new Select Group 2: http://www.efl.com/news/article/2016/match-officials-referee-david-coote-discusses-the-new-select-group-2-3249475.aspx
Referee David Coote on swapping wickets for Wembley: http://quaysnews.net/index.php/2015/12/09/feature-referee-david-coote-on-swapping-wickets-for-wembley/
Men in Black – David Coote: http://www.efl.com/news/article/men-in-black-david-coote-1868688.aspx
Paul Tierney will be the referee for Saturday’s televised Midlands derby between Derby County and Aston Villa in the Championship.
The 36-year-old, from Lancashire, will take charge as the promotion-chasing Rams host their relegated neighbours at the iPro Stadium in the evening kick-off (KO 17:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).
The former hairdresser, from Wigan, was promoted to the Select Group of Premier League referees over the summer along with Stuart Attwell.
He has so far dished out six yellow cards and awarded one penalty in two games this term – Birmingham’s 2-1 win at Leeds in the Championship last Saturday and the 1-1 League Two draw between Hartlepool and Colchester on the opening weekend.
Tierney has officiated five Premier League games in total – with his first being Swansea’s 3-0 win over West Brom at the Liberty Stadium two years ago.
He will be assisted in the east Midlands by Select Group linesmen Mick McDonough and Matthew Wilkes, with Geoff Eltringham the fourth official.
Derby against Aston Villa was a Premier League fixture as recently as 2008, with both sides under new management this term in Nigel Pearson and Roberto di Matteo respectively.
You can see the rest of the weekend’s EFL match official appointments here.