MIKE Dean has been confirmed as the referee for the ‘Second City’ derby between Birmingham City and Aston Villa in the SkyBet Championship this weekend.
The Wirral-based whistler will take control as the two Midlands rivals meet for the first time at St Andrew’s since January 2011 this Sunday lunchtime (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be assisted by Select Group linesmen Simon Long (Devon) and Daniel Cook (Hampshire), with Peter Bankes (Merseyside) on fourth official duties.
It will be a second major derby of the week for Dean after dishing out four yellow cards in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Manchester City at Old Trafford in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night.
The Football League was expected to appoint an experienced official and it will be a first taste of this particular fixture for Dean, who drops down from the Premier League for the first time this term for what could be a combustible affair between two fierce rivals in contrasting form of late.
He was last seen in the middle at the Emirates on Saturday for Arsenal’s goalless draw with Middlesbrough – delivering an assured display, only booking Gunners defender Shkodran Mustafi.
And Boro were the hosts for his previous Championship outing in May when he sent off Brighton’s Dale Stephens in a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium in a promotion decider on the final day of the league season.
Earlier this month, Dean gave two spotkicks but was criticised for turning down Burnley’s appeals for another one in their 3-1 defeat by Southampton at St Mary’s.
Sunday’s eagerly-awaited showdown will be the 48-year-old’s 11th match of the season in all competitions.
In his 10 games so far, he has brandished 38 yellow cards, sent off Sunderland’s Adnan Januzaj in their 1-0 defeat at Spurs, and awarded six penalties.
The Heswall-based whistler, who is the only referee to have officiated three Championship Play-Off Finals, took charge of three second-tier matches last season.
Meanwhile, Dean handled four Villa games in 2015-16 as they were relegated from the Premier League.
Dean has not handled a Birmingham game since January 2012 – their 4-1 win over Leeds United at Elland Road in the Championship.
But he will be remembered most by Blues fans for overseeing their famous 2-1 triumph over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup Final.
The sides last met at Birmingham’s home in a 1-1 Premier League draw five years ago, officiated by Mark Clattenburg.
But, as Steve Bruce prepares to come up against his former employers, his new club Villa ran out 1-0 winners in a League Cup tie at Villa Park last season – with Bobby Madley the man in the middle on that occasion.
James Adcock will take charge of Friday night’s televised west London derby between QPR and Brentford at Loftus Road (KO 19:45 BST).
The Select Group 2 referee will be assisted by Adam Matthews, Michael George and fourth official Tim Robinson – who refereed Burton’s 2-0 win over Birmingham last Friday – for his 16th game of the season.
So far this term, he has brandished 41 yellow cards and awarded three penalties but is yet to issue a red card.
Adcock – who only received 10 second-tier matches last term – last encountered Brentford in August, booking two players in their 1-0 defeat at Rotherham.
The Nottinghamshire-based official, who handled the 2011 Conference Play-Off Final, oversaw QPR’s 1-1 draw at Leeds back in April – awarding the visitors an 87th-minute penalty which Tjarron Chery converted.
Adcock was the fourth official who was swore at by Sunderland boss David Moyes and subsequently advised referee Chris Kavanagh to send him off in the Black Cats’ 1-0 EFL Cup defeat at Southampton in midweek.
The 32-year-old, who has ambitions to be a Premier League referee one day, gave up his day job as a PE teacher in the summer to become a full-time referee.
Regarded as a competent official, Adcock began refereeing in 2000 at the age of 16 before progressing through local leagues to join the Conference List in 2009 and the Football League list two years later.
In last season’s meetings between the rivals, Simon Hooper refereed Brentford’s 1-0 win at Griffin Park in October before Fred Graham issued seven yellows in QPR’s 3-0 victory over the Bees at Loftus Road in March.
You can see all of this weekend’s Football League match official appointments here.