STUART Attwell will be the referee for the EFL Cup third round tie between Northampton Town and Manchester United.
The 33-year-old, from Warwickshire, will take charge as the Premier League heavyweights travel to Sixfields to take on the League One newcomers for Wednesday’s televised clash (KO 19:45 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be ably assisted by Peter Kirkup (Northamptonshire) and Marc Perry (West Midlands), while the fourth official is Andre Marriner (West Midlands) – who refereed United’s 3-1 league win at Bournemouth on the opening weekend last month.
But it’s the first time Attwell will encounter the Reds since their infamous 4-0 defeat at MK Dons in the second round of the competition in 2013, when Louis van Gaal’s side endured a torrid night at the Stadium MK.
Jose Mourinho will be hoping to avoid a repeat against another third-tier team, with Rob Page making a positive start to his Cobblers reign since replacing Chris Wilder after they romped to the League Two title against all odds last term.
Meanwhile, before the game in Northamptonshire, Attwell will be on electronic board duties when United visit Watford in the Premier League at Vicarage Road on Sunday lunchtime (KO 12:00 BST, live on BT Sport).
He has officiated four matches across all competitions so far this term – one in the Premier League, two in the Championship and one in League One.
But he had an eventful game in Oxford’s 2-0 derby win over Swindon in the third tier, in which in he sent off Swindon’s Lloyd Jones and goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux in the second half.
Attwell also awarded a penalty, which Chris Maguire converted just before half-time, but changed his decision on the advice of his assistant after Liam Sercombe was tripped by Nathan Thompson.
He was first promoted to the Select Group in 2008 after just one season in the Football League and made his top-flight debut in Blackburn’s 1-1 with Hull at Ewood Park in August of the same year.
In doing so, Attwell became the youngest ever Premier League referee at the age of 25, however, his record was subsequently broken by Michael Oliver in 2010.
After a series of controversial decisions, including the infamous ‘ghost goal’ between Reading and Watford, Attwell was demoted back to the National List in February 2012.
But having impressed in several trial top-flight games and delivering consistent displays on a regular basis in the Football League, he was confirmed on the Premier League list for this term following the retirement of Phil Dowd through injury.
Attwell has also refereed three games at Wembley in his career thus far – two of which came in May this year.
He was in the middle for Stockport County’s 3-2 win over Rochdale in the 2008 League Two Play-Off Final before performing well in the FA Vase Final between Hereford and Morpeth Town and Barnsley’s 3-1 win over Millwall in the League One Play-Off Final last season.
The Luton Town supporter, who has markedly improved in recent times to become more lenient, will be hoping to make a positive impression early on in an important season for his future prospects.
Bobby Madley will take charge of Tuesday night’s televised tie – the all-Premier League affair between Leicester and Chelsea, the champions of the last two seasons.
The 30-year-old, from West Yorkshire, will be assisted at the King Power Stadium by Scott Ledger (South Yorkshire), Harry Lennard (west Sussex) and fourth official Mike Dean (Wirral).
Madley came under fire last weekend in some quarters after awarding Arsenal a dubious late penalty, which Santi Cazorla converted to earn a 2-1 win over Southampton at the Emirates.
The Huddersfield Town fan has dished out 29 yellow cards and awarded four penalties in six games in all competitions this season but is yet to send a player off.
You can view a full list of EFL Cup third round match official appointments here.