SkyBet Championship: Peter Bankes to referee Newcastle United v Aston Villa

The Merseyside whistler will be in the middle for a crunch televised SkyBet Championship clash at St James’s Park between two sides relegated from the Premier League last season.

Prominent: Bankes, who is now in his third season as a Football League referee, oversaw the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final between Barnsley and Walsall at Oakwell last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

The referee has been announced for the crunch SkyBet Championship clash between Newcastle United and Aston Villa on Monday night.

Peter Bankes will take charge of the televised encounter under the floodlights at St James’s Park with kick-off at 20:00 GMT, the Football League has confirmed.

He will be ably assisted by Paul Hodskinson (Lancashire) and David Avent (Northamptonshire), with Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire) on fourth official duties.

A Select Group 2 official primarily officiating in the second-tier, Bankes will oversee his 28th game in all competitions of what has been a busy campaign for him so far.

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.

Fleeting: It will only be Bankes’s third appearance in front of the live TV cameras in all competitions this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

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.

Arguably the proudest moment of his career so far was refereeing Cambridge’s 2-1 win over Gateshead in the National League Promotion Final at Wembley in May 2014.

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 reverse fixture at Villa Park was also overseen by a Select Group 2 referee, with Chris Kavanagh performing well in September’s 1-1 draw between two sides seeking an immediate return to the Premier League following relegation last season.

Role: Bankes is a former Football Services Officer in Coach Education at Liverpool County Football Association (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referees announced for Championship ‘Select Group’

Former Premier League whistler Keith Stroud, Andy Madley and Simon Hooper are among 18 Football League referees who will form a new Select Group 2 to officiate Championship games.

Andy Woolmer referee (JPT Final Barnsley v Oxford - 3rd April 2016)
In the middle: Northamptonshire postman Woolmer, 50, has secured one of the 18 spots in the newly-formed Select Group 2 (Picture from Sky Sports)

THE 18 referees who will form a second ‘Select Group’ by officiating primarily in the SkyBet Championship from the 2016-17 season have been revealed. 

Former Premier League referee Keith Stroud and fellow experienced whistler Andy Woolmer have both been selected.

A number of ‘Talent Group’ whistlers – who are being considered for promotion to the top-flight – were chosen including Simon Hooper, Andy Madley, Chris Kavanagh and David Coote.

The officials will be able to benefit from training with their Select Group colleagues at St George’s Park in Burton and will be employed by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

It is unclear at this stage who are the 12 full-time and six part-time officials.

The changes will hope to drive up standards in the Football League, particularly in the Championship which grows in popularity and importance year on year.

Scott Duncan books Morgan Fox (v Ipswich - 28th Nov 2015)
Taking note: Northumberland’s Scott Duncan (left) has been officiating in the Football League since the 2012-13 season (Picture from Sky Sports)

From the officials chosen, Kavanagh, 30, is the youngest and therefore the least experienced having only been promoted to the National List of referees last season.

Hooper – who refereed the 2015 League Two Play-Off Final – endured a difficult time in his only Premier League trial game between Norwich and Crystal Palace on the opening weekend.

Four of the referees have received Play-Off semi-final appointments – Tim Robinson, Stephen Martin, Peter Bankes and Oliver Langford.

Staffordshire-based official Martin is the son of former Premier League assistant referee Andy, while Robinson is ending the season strongly despite the controversial dismissal of Sheffield Wednesday’s Fernando Forestieri against Hull City.

Madley, 32, is the older brother of Premier League referee Robert – who will oversee the Championship Play-Off Final between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday.

Andy Davies referee (Swindon v Wigan - 25th March 2016)
Staying put: The Hampshire-based whistler, 39, will be mainly based in the second-tier next season (Picture from Sky Sports)

When announcing their intentions to create a ‘Select Group 2’ last December, PGMOL said in a statement:

“At present, Select Group assistant referees and National List referees are paid on a match-fee basis, but this change will see them move to part-time and full-time PGMOL contracts.

“The aim of the above changes is to expand the refereeing talent pool and ensure there is a strong development pathway for young officials coming through the ranks.”

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey added: “At the end of the day, we have got highly paid players competing for the massive prize of promotion and we are expecting a referee to turn up who may have been at work all day and perform to a high standard.”

The successful officials are believed to have undergone a rigorous application process. They will receive an estimated annual salary of £60,000, as opposed to the standard £380 match fee per game.

As well as the second-tier elite group, there will also be a newly established panel of 36 assistant referees, although they are not on full salaried terms.

Name Age County No. of Championship games in 2015-16
Andy Davies 40 Hampshire 13
Andy Madley 32 West Yorkshire 18
Andy Woolmer 50 Northamptonshire 13
Chris Kavanagh 30 Manchester 18
Darren Bond 37 Lancashire 11
David Coote 33 West Yorkshire 10
Geoff Eltringham 35 Tyne & Wear 12
James Adcock 32 Nottinghamshire 10
James Linington 36 Isle of Wight 8
Jeremy Simpson 40 Lancashire 15
Keith Stroud 46 Hampshire 24
Oliver Langford 36 West Midlands 13
Peter Bankes 33 Merseyside 18
Scott Duncan 42 Northumberland 15
Simon Hooper 33 Wiltshire 22
Stephen Martin 31 Staffordshire 14
Tim Robinson 35 West Sussex 14
Tony Harrington 32 Cleveland 11

Experienced ref Stroud to officiate East Lancs derby

Keith Stroud will be the man in charge for Burnley’s SkyBet Championship derby with Lancashire rivals Blackburn at Ewood Park on Saturday.

Keith Stroud awards free-kick (Sheff Weds v Hull - 17th Oct 2015)
Second-tier: Stroud will handle his seventh Championship game of the season at Ewood Park (Picture from Sky Sports)

EXPERIENCED referee Keith Stroud will take charge of the east Lancashire derby between Blackburn Rovers and Burnley at Ewood Park this weekend.

The 46-year-old, from Hampshire, has been assigned to the televised Saturday lunchtime kick-off in the SkyBet Championship between the two rivals separated by a mere 12 miles (KO 12:30pm, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by linesmen Glen Hart (County Durham) and Shaun Hudson (Tyne & Wear) while the fourth official will be Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire).

Stroud was the butt of the jokes last weekend after being bulldozed by Hull’s Chuba Akpom in their 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday which forced the official to hobble off injured late on at Hillsborough and be replaced by fourth official Darren Handley.

He is expected to make a recovery in time to officiate Tuesday night’s key League Two fixture between third-top Oxford United and leaders Plymouth Argyle.

Stroud has brandished 43 yellow cards and awarded three penalties in 11 matches in all competitions so far this term – with his only red card shown to Bristol City’s Luke Freeman in their 4-2 home defeat by Brentford in August.

Keith Stroud points for penalty (Ipswich v Birmingham - 18th Sept 2015)
On the spot: Stroud gave a contentious penalty for Ipswich in their 1-1 draw with Birmingham last month (Picture from Sky Sports)

The former Premier League whistler has received two top-flight trial games in the last 12 months – both involving Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park against Leicester and Aston Villa respectively.

He was widely praised for a high-quality display in their 2-1 win over Villa in August in which he disallowed a James McArthur goal for offside after consulting linesman Peter Kirkup.

Afterwards, former PGMOL chief Keith Hackett urged that Stroud be selected for more Premier League games and hailed his decision-making and movement around the field.

The boyhood Luton Town supporter has also overseen a number of top-flight clubs in the Capital One Cup in the last two years including West Bromwich Albion and Southampton in this season’s competition.

Regularly considered for key matches across the three divisions due to his unrivalled knowledge and excellent fitness, Stroud took charge of 18 Championship games in 2014-15.

His efforts throughout the season were duly rewarded when handed the responsibility of a fourth play-off semi-final as Stevenage drew 1-1 with Southend in the first leg of their League Two tie.

Keith Stroud books Eric Lichaj (v Brighton - 7th August 2015)
Opener: Stroud booked six players in the first Football League game of the season between Brighton and Nottingham Forest (Picture from Sky Sports)

Stroud last encountered Blackburn in a 2-1 FA Cup win at Charlton back in January while his previous Burnley game was their 2-0 victory over Wigan in April 2014 which clinched the Clarets’ promotion to the Premier League.

He is one of the most experienced in the Football League and has been in the middle twice at Wembley – for the 2004 Conference Play-Off Final between Aldershot and Shrewsbury and the 2013 League Two final as Bradford beat Northampton 3-0.

Stroud could be involved in the middle at the national stadium for a third time this term with the Kent-based official among the leading contenders for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final.

The Hampshire FA Referee Developing Manager first took up the whistle in 1988 and progressed through the ranks to become a Select Group assistant referee in 2002 when he was appointed as a linesman to the 2003 FA Cup Final.

He became a National List referee in 2004 with his first Football League game being Scunthorpe’s 2-0 win at Cheltenham in League Two before impressing in a trial Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester City in 2007.

Stroud, who belongs to Hampshire FA, was promoted to the top-flight at the start of the 2007-08 campaign but demoted back to the National List in May 2009 after just two seasons as a full-time official.

Keith Stroud watches on (Brighton v Watford - 25th April 2015)
Top-flight: Stroud, of Dorset, has officiated 16 Premier League matches during his career (Picture from Sky Sports)

Following his debut in February 2006 when Blackburn welcomed Sunderland to Ewood Park, he oversaw a further 13 matches before being deemed to have fallen below the required standards of officiating and was dropped along with fellow referee Steve Tanner.

Burnley were also involved in a Lancashire derby last weekend against Bolton Wanderers at Turf Moor – in which newly-promoted Select Group official Graham Scott refereed his first game of the season as Andre Gray’s double gave the Clarets a 2-0 win.

Rovers’ goalless draw with Bolton at Ewood Park in August was surprisingly officiated by Paul Tierney from Lancashire, who sent off Wanderers defender Dorian Dervite late on for two yellow cards and was criticised by boss Neil Lennon for an ‘inconsistent’ and ‘appalling’ display.

Sean Dyche’s Clarets currently sit in the play-off places while Blackburn – under boss Gary Bowyer – are in the middle of the table.

Simpson to referee televised Meadow Lane game

Jeremy Simpson and Roger East will be on duty this Sunday for the televised SkyBet League Two double header as Exeter face Stevenage and Notts County tackle leaders Plymouth.

Jeremy Simpson in action (Northampton v York - February 2015)
Last weekend: Simpson was the man in black for Derby’s 2-0 win over Brentford in the Championship in which he issued six yellow cards

JEREMY Simpson has been confirmed as the referee for Sunday’s televised SkyBet League Two clash between Notts County and Plymouth Argyle.

The 40-year-old will take charge as Derek Adams’s league leaders travel to Meadow Lane hoping to extend their two-point lead at the top of the fourth tier against mid-table County (KO 2:30pm, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by linesmen Mark Griffiths (South Yorkshire) and Chris Isherwood (Lancashire) while the fourth official is Chris Kavanagh (Manchester).

The Lancashire-based whistler – who is in his fifth season on the Football League list – will oversee his 11th game of the season in all competitions this weekend.

Simpson has also been appointed to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Section clash between League One sides Rochdale and Chesterfield at Spotland on Tuesday night.

He has already handled three in the Championship, three in League One and two in League Two as well as Notts County’s 2-1 Capital One Cup first round win over Huddersfield in August.

Simpson sent off County midfielder Gills Swert at the John Smith’s Stadium – one of two red cards he has brandished with the other the dubious dismissal of Wolves’ Conor Coady in their goalless draw with Brighton.

He has also brandished 37 yellow cards so far and awarded one penalty – which also came in the aforementioned Championship game at Molineux.

Simpson – who has been fourth official for five games too this term – will make his first trip to Meadow Lane since Notts’ goalless draw with Coventry in April in the third-tier.

But it will be the first time he encounters Plymouth in his professional career which began with a Blue Square Premier fixture between York and Stevenage at the start of the 2008-09 season.

Simpson was promoted to the National List in 2010/11 and has mainly officiated in League One and League Two but has controlled 15 Championship games with his first coming in February 2013.

He was also the man in the middle for the 2012 Conference Play-Off Final at Wembley as York City beat Luton Town 2-1 to gain promotion for the first time since 2004.

Ricardo Moniz’s Notts County have won their last four home games in all competitions but languish in 16th place while the Pilgrims have won four, drawn one and lost one of their six away games this term.

Roger East referee (Norwich v Ipswich PO SF 2nd leg - 16th May 2015)
Last time: East’s previous Exeter game was their 3-0 loss at Plymouth 16 months ago while his last Stevenage match was also a 3-0 defeat – at Preston in September 2013 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Roger East will take charge of the other SkyBet League Two clash live on Sky Sports on Sunday when Exeter welcome Stevenage for the lunchtime game (KO 12:15pm).

The 50-year-old Premier League referee has officiated six games across all the divisions so far – with his only red card shown in his previous League Two match between Portsmouth and Morecambe in August to Pompey’s Enda Stevens.

He will be assisted at St James’s Park by Select Group linesmen Simon Long (Devon) and Marc Perry (West Midlands) while Football League whistler Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire) will be on fourth official duties.

The Wiltshire-based whistler started the season with three Football League games before handling two top-flight matches and the Capital One Cup tie between Sunderland and Manchester City.

Overall, he has brandished 21 yellow cards so far and awarded just one penalty which Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson converted in their 3-1 defeat at Southampton last month.

East – who has been on the Premier League list since the 2012/13 season – has also been used as a fourth official four times including twice last weekend at Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat by Southampton and Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Manchester United.

He is widely remembered for for dismissing Wes Brown rather than John O’Shea in Sunderland’s 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford back in March – despite his insistence in a PGMOL statement that he sent the correct man off.

East was involved in last season’s Championship play-offs – overseeing the semi-final second leg between Norwich and Ipswich before performing fourth official duties at the Wembley final.