The 34-year-old has so far brandished 100 yellow cards and a staggering 10 red cards – which is twice the amount he gave in the whole of last season, while only Keith Stroud and Scott Duncan have sent off more players among the 18 Select Group 2 referees.
He has also pointed to the penalty spot on seven occasions – but only one of those spotkicks was in the second tier.
It will be the Merseyside whistler’s 19th Championship match of the season and he won’t forget his only other game involving Newcastle – their memorable 4-3 victory over Norwich at St James’s Park back in September.
Bankes booked 10 players and awarded the Magpies a dubious second-half penalty as they came from 3-1 down with two goals in injury time sealing a comeback victory.
Immediately after that game, he handled the first of his two Aston Villa matches this term – both ending up in 2-0 defeats away from home, which may be a bad omen for Villa boss Steve Bruce, who is bound to receive a hostile reception as a former Sunderland manager on Tyneside.
The notoriously card-happy Bankes issued another eight bookings in their loss at Preston at the start of October and awarded Villa a late spotkick, which Ross McCormack saw saved by Lilywhites keeper Chris Maxwell.
He was then in the middle for their defeat at Leeds United in front of the Sky Sports cameras in December and put in a good performance, with just four yellows given out.
Bankes returned to Elland Road on Tuesday evening as fourth official for Leeds’ match against Bristol City, while he assumed the same role at St James’s Park as recently as February 1 for Newcastle’s 2-2 draw with QPR.
The Liverpool-based official has shown plenty of promise in recent times and has received high praise from former Premier League referees Keith Hackett and Jeff Winter for impressive keeping some challenging games under control.
Bankes began officiating in 1996 at the age of 14 whilst a pupil at Bootle High School and served as a Premier League assistant referee for two years, during which he ran the line on FA Cup and League Cup semi-final ties.
He was subsequently promoted to the Football League list of referees and has since taken charge of two Play-Off Semi-Final ties in League One and League Two, as well as being fourth official for last season’s FA Vase Final.
Bankes has already shown his officiate in the Select Group in the future having overseen several Premier League teams in domestic cup competitions, including Sunderland’s 2-1 EFL Cup win at QPR this season, and been fourth official for numerous top-flight games.
He had a busy time when performing electronic board duties at Turf Moor on Saturday, intervening on more than one occasion as Burnley and Lincoln City coaches clashed during the National League side’s famous 1-0 FA Cup fifth round win.
Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle will be looking to reclaim top spot in the Championship from Brighton, who won 2-0 at Barnsley on Saturday, and return to winning ways after a 2-2 draw at Norwich in midweek.
Hovering just six points above the relegation zone, Aston Villa would be forgiven for fearing the worst having lost their last four league games and seven of the last eight on the road. The Midlands side, beaten 3-1 at home by Barnsley in midweek, have also not beaten Newcastle since 2011 or won on Tyneside since 2005.
The Select Group 2 referee will take charge at the ABAX Stadium, while Darren Handley and David Webb will also handle the other third-tier TV matches on Sunday.
TIM Robinson has been confirmed as the referee for Saturday’s televised SkyBet League One clash between Peterborough United and Swindon Town.
The 32-year-old, from West Sussex, will take charge of the lunchtime kick-off as the two established third-tier teams hoping to make a promotion push meet at the ABAX Stadium (KO 12:15 BST, live on Sky Sports 1).
He will be ably assisted in Cambridgeshire by linesmen David Avent (Northamptonshire) and Ian Cooper (Kent), with Robert Jones (Merseyside) on fourth official duties.
Robinson – who is one of the 18 new Select Group 2 referees primarily officiating in the Championship – will oversee his fifth game of the season in all competitions.
He also officiated an EFL Cup first round tie involving two League One sides, Gillingham’s 3-1 win over Southend at Root’s Hall, and was fourth official for Norwich’s goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Carrow Road in the Championship on August 13.
Overall, Robinson has dished out 13 yellow cards and one red card but is yet to point to the penalty spot.
But he will now be able to dedicate more time to his refereeing after being selected to become professional and hopes to one day be considered for the Premier League.
Robinson – who is the chairman of the Chichester and West Sussex Sunday League – has been qualified for 15 years and progressed through the Sussex, Wessex and Ryman leagues having first taken up the whistle on the advice of his former PE teacher, Paul Blackmore.
He ran the line in the 2008-09 Conference Play-Off Final at Wembley before gaining a place on the Football League list of assistant referees in the 2010-11 season.
His first game as a National List referee was Southend against Accrington in League Two in August 2012 and he is now in his fifth season in the Football League.
Last term, Robinson became an established figure in the second-tier and officiated a number of live TV games.
Robinson, nevertheless, was rewarded for a progressive campaign by refereeing the League One Play-Off semi-final second leg between Millwall and Bradford at the New Den, before being fourth official for the League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley.
Overall in 2015-16, he brandished 146 yellow cards, sent off nine players and awarded 12 penalties in 43 games.
Robinson last encountered both sides in January – Swindon in their 1-0 defeat at home to Barnsley and Peterborough in their loss by the same scoreline against Burton Albion, with both games passing off without major incident.
A good performance will be required from the fledging official with the Sky cameras at London Road to witness the first match of a weekend in which Leagues One and Two will take centre stage during the international break.
Both sides won away from home in last season’s meetings, with Swindon coming from behind to win 2-1 in February.
David Webb has been assigned to Northampton Town’s home match against promotion-chasing MK Dons in the first of two live League One games on Sunday.
The 38-year-old, from County Durham, will handle his fifth League One match of the season and ninth in all competitions at Sixfields (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports 1).
Webb has so far brandished 14 yellow cards, one red card and awarded five penalties, with the latest of his eight games coming on Tuesday night in Everton Under-23’s 2-0 win at Bolton in the Checkatrade Trophy.
He will be ably assisted by Simon Knapp (Bristol) and Anthony Da Costa (Cambridgeshire), with Gavin Ward (Surrey) on electronic board duties.
Knapp will also fulfil the role of fourth official for Saturday’s League Two match at Rodney Parade as Newport County host Barnet.
Meanwhile, Webb – who used to work for a charity that supports adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems –
The Wearside-born whistler – who is now based in Lancashire – is no relation to 2010 World Cup Final referee Howard, who he has been mistaken for in the past.
Webb – who has been in the Talent Group of officials shortlisted for future elevation to the Premier League – was fourth official for two top-flight matches last term.
He took up the whistle at the age of 14 after reading the match programme in 1992 when his beloved Sunderland lost 2-0 to Liverpool in the FA Cup Final at Wembley in which the FA wrote about their need to recruit referees.
Webb dropped out after a year but returned six years later and became a Football League assistant referee in 2006 before graduating to the middle the following year.
The two sides arrived in the third tier from different directions this season, with Northampton winning League Two against all the odds before Rob Page replaced Chris Wilder, while MK Dons were relegated after just one season in the Championship.
Lancashire official Darren Handley will be the man in the middle for Sheffield United’s League One trip to Gillingham on Sunday.
The 40-year-old will make the decisions at the Priestfield Stadium in the second of the day’s televised games (KO 14:15 BST, live on Sky Sports 1).
Handley will be assisted by Thomas Ramsey (Essex) and Dean Treleaven (West Sussex), while Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire) is the fourth official.
The Bolton-based whistler will handle his sixth match of the season in all competitions, having dished out 20 yellows so far but he is yet to give a red card or penalty.
Handley – only the third professional referee from Bolton in the last 25 years after Tom Fitzharris and Lee Mason – endured some drama when encountering both sides last term.
He oversaw two Gillingham matches last term – their 2-1 win at Bradford in August and 3-0 victory at Millwall in December, in which Lions keeper Jordan Archer was dismissed in the first half and Bradley Dack converted the resulting spotkick.
Handley, who has officiated six Championship games in his career to date, encountered Sheffield United once in their 3-2 home defeat by Colchester last September – when he awarded two spotkicks and sent off U’s defender George Elokobi late on.
United, in their sixth successive season in League One, will be hoping to avoid another humbling in Kent after losing 4-0 on their previous visit to the Priestfield Stadium on the opening weekend last term.
You can view a full list of match official appointments for the weekend here.