- Harrington’s first League One game of season
- Hartlepool-based referee’s second TV game of campaign
- Premier League refs Swarbrick, Friend & Probert in action
- Deadman in charge of Oxford United v Wimbledon
- Stockbridge to referee MK Dons v Port Vale
REFEREE Tony Harrington has been confirmed to take charge of Peterborough’s SkyBet League One clash with Bury this weekend.
The 38-year-old, from Cleveland, will be in the middle for the first of only six third-tier games on Saturday, between two sides expected to compete for promotion, in the lunchtime kick-off at the ABAX Stadium (KO 12:15 BST, live on Sky Sports).
It’s one of three televised matches in League One this weekend, as the lower two divisions of the Football League take centre stage during the second international break of the season.
He will be assisted by Select Group 2 linesman Daniel Leach (Oxfordshire) and Daniel Cook (Hampshire) of the Select Group, with Oliver Langford (west Midlands) the fourth official.
Harrington has handled eight games in all competitions this season – issuing an average of five yellow cards per match.
His one red card and two penalties came in Birmingham’s dramatic 1-0 victory at Fulham on September 10.
It will be the first time Harrington – who is one of 18 Select Group 2 referees who primarily officiate in the Championship – drops below the second tier so far this term.
The Hartlepool-based whistler has also officiated two EFL Cup matches – the second of which he was criticised for failing to act on a horrendous challenge by Accrington’s Shay McCartan on Burnley’s Aiden O’Neill.
Harrington encountered Bury three times last season – in their 2-1 JPT win at Accrington last September, a 2-1 defeat at home to Scunthorpe last November when he gave the Iron a first-half spotkick at Gigg Lane, and a 3-0 loss at Rochdale in March.
In January 2015, Harrington sent a crazy – and hilarious – note to the FA to explain why he postponed Bury’s League Two match at Accrington when the pitch at the Wham Stadium had completely flooded.
Meanwhile, his only Peterborough game in 2015-16 was their 2-0 victory over Championship side Preston at the ABAX Stadium in January in the FA Cup third round.
It’s not the first time Harrington has handled a Posh game live on TV – after their FA Cup second round replay against Colchester in 2014.
He began refereeing in the Teesside Junior Football Alliance at the age of 14, having completed the basic referee course whilst at school as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award.
After four years as an EFL assistant referee and four years in the National League and National League North, Harrington was promoted to the Football League referees list at the start of the 2012-13 season.
In his debut campaign, he hit the headlines for sending off players in five of six consecutive games but has since established himself to referee more than 100 Football League matches.
Harrington has also helped to run Durham County FA’s Referee Academy with fellow Football League referee Geoff Eltringham.
13th-placed Peterborough are looking to end a run of six league games without a win against a Bury side in third, who were denied a sixth successive league victory last weekend after a 2-1 home loss against leaders Scunthorpe.
Premier League referees Neil Swarbrick, Kevin Friend and Lee Probert will also be in the middle on Saturday.
Swarbrick, 50, from Lancashire, will take charge of Bolton Wanderers’ League One trip to Swindon Town.
Leicestershire’s Friend, 45, has been assigned to Morecambe’s League Two encounter with Carlisle United.
And Wiltshire whistler Lee Probert, 44, will continue his rehabilitation after long-term injury in the fourth tier with Yeovil Town against Wycombe Wanderers at Huish Park.
Preston-based Swarbrick has already handled Burton Albion’s 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship and Sheffield United’s 1-0 victory against Peterborough in League One this season.
It will be the second time Friend drops down to the Football League this term after handling Wednesday’s 2-1 Championship win over Nottingham Forest last month.
Probert, originally from Gloucestershire, is yet to make his Premier League comeback following his lengthy spell on the sidelines but will oversee his ninth Football League game of the season.
Darren Deadman will be in the middle for Sunday’s televised lunchtime kick-off between Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon.
The Cambridge-based whistler will make the decisions as the two promoted teams do battle in League One at the Kassam Stadium (KO 12:15 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be ably assisted by Andrew Aylott and Lisa Rashid, while the fourth official is Ollie Yates (Staffordshire).
Deadman has brandished 42 yellow cards, one red card and pointed to the spot just once so far in 10 games in all competitions this season.
His solitary penalty and sending off came in one of his previous five League One games – in leaders Scunthorpe’s 2-2 draw against Sheffield United at Glanford Park last month.
Deadman, who is one for applying the letter of the law, left Blades boss Chris Wilder less than impressed with the dismissal of midfielder Chris Basham, which he described as “ridiculous”.
The public transport officer, from Chatteris near Peterborough, is one of the more experienced officials in the Football League but is also seen as among the most card-happy.
A permanent fixture among the National List of referees since 2005, he has been touted for Premier League promotion in the past but has fallen down the pecking order and was overlooked for a place in the newly-formed Select Group 2 in the summer.
The 43-year-old, who is married with two daughters, handled Stevenage’s 1-0 win over Torquay United in the 2011 League Two Play-Off Final at Manchester United’s Old Trafford.
Deadman – who has been fourth official for many Premier League games – now finds himself a regular in the third and fourth tiers but has become more lenient in his approach, which is reflected in his reduced card count.
One of his 37 matches in all competitions last term – which included Barnsley’s 3-1 win at Walsall in the League One play-off semi-final second leg – was Wimbledon’s 1-0 loss at Hartlepool in League Two in March.
His last Oxford game was also in the fourth tier – in a goalless draw against Portsmouth at Fratton Park in February 2015.
Later on Sunday afternoon, Seb Stockbridge will take charge of his first live TV game in the Football League when MK Dons host Port Vale in League One.
The Sunderland-based official has been assigned to the Stadium MK clash as Karl Robinson’s promotion challengers host the Staffordshire side in front of the Sky cameras (KO 14:15 BST).
The Penshaw whistler – who is in his fourth season as a Football League referee after gaining promotion in 2013 – is normally found in the lower two tiers, having only received four Championship matches to date.
Stockbridge will officiate his 13th game of the season in all competitions – having brandished 51 yellow cards, sent off three players and awarded five penalties so far.
It will be the sixth time he steps out in the middle for a League One match already in 2016-17.
They were two of 30 matches he handled in all competitions last season.
He has not encountered MK Dons since an incident-free 1-1 draw at Walsall in the third tier in March 2015.
Stockbridge became interested in refereeing in 1998 after watching a Channel 5 programme about three people becoming match officials.
He will be assisted by Craig Taylor and Ashvin Degnarain, with Devon’s Brett Huxtable on fourth official duties.
You can view the rest of the weekend’s EFL match official appointments here.