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)

Geoff Eltringham to referee Burton Albion v Oldham Athletic

The Sunderland-based official will be in the middle for the televised game at the Pirelli Stadium this Easter weekend.

Geoff Eltringham signals for offside (Hull v Derby - 27th Nov 2015)
On screen: Eltringham’s only other TV match this term was Derby’s 2-0 Championship win at Hull in November (Picture from Sky Sports)

GEOFF Eltringham has been appointed as the referee for Saturday’s televised SkyBet League One encounter between Burton Albion and Oldham Athletic.

The 35-year-old, from Tyne and Wear, will take charge as leaders Burton host the relegation-threatened Latics in the lunchtime kick-off (12:30pm, live on Sky Sports 1).

He will be ably assisted at the Pirelli Stadium by Peter Wright (Merseyside) and Paul Hodskinson (Lancashire), while fellow Football League referee Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire) is the fourth official.

Eltringham has handled 32 matches so far this season – brandishing 83 yellow cards, sending off seven players and awarding 13 penalties.

The Sunderland-based whistler has handled 11 League One games to date in 2015-16 – more than any of the other five competitions he has officiated in – and is mainly seen in the lower two divisions.

It will be the second time he will encounter both teams after overseeing Burton’s 2-1 win at Blackpool last August and Oldham’s 4-2 home defeat by Scunthorpe in October.

Eltringham – who is also a sales representative for a Yorkshire timber firm – is largely known to use cards only when necessary but is not afraid to make big decisions.

Northampton Town v Stevenage - Sky Bet League Two
Recent outing: Eltringham was last in the middle for Morecamb’s 2-1 win over 10-man Wimbledon in League Two last weekend (Picture from Getty Images)

He has become an established figure in the Football League with over 200 games under his belt, having been on the National List of referees since the 2008-09 campaign.

Father-of-one Eltringham – a lifelong Sunderland supporter and keen cricketer – is also chairman of the Sunderland Referees’ Association and a director of the Durham FA’s Referee Academy for young aspiring officials.

He took up the whistle as a teenager himself after giving up playing as a goalkeeper for his local team in the North East and progressed through the Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League, Northern and Unibond divisions to Conference level.

Eltringham became a Football League assistant referee in 2007 before being elevated to refereeing status a year later after impressing assessors – and is now in his eighth season in the middle.

In 2012, he was among the pool of Talent Group officials whose potential is closely monitored with a view to Premier League promotion – and Eltringham, who has been married to wife Emma for three years later, has not given up on reaching the Select Group.

Burton also have a second successive promotion in sight – with the Brewers on course for Championship football for the first time as they sit six points clear of second-placed Wigan, who visit Swindon on Good Friday, with nine games left.

Meanwhile, Oldham – who have played in the third tier since 1997 – are third from bottom and a point adrift of safety but have a game in hand on the three other teams in the relegation zone.

Both sides have changed managers since Burton won 1-0 at Boundary Park in October – a game refereed by Eddie Ilderton – with Nigel Clough replacing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in the Burton hotseat while John Sheridan ousted David Dunn as Latics boss.