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)

First Tyne Wear derby for referee Taylor

REFEREE Anthony Taylor will take charge of his first Tyne Wear derby when Newcastle entertain host North East rivals Sunderland at St James’s Park on Sunday.

Holding the whistle: Taylor has averaged a card count of four yellows per Premier League game so far in the 2014-15 season (Picture from

REFEREE Anthony Taylor will take charge of his first Tyne Wear derby when Newcastle host Sunderland this weekend.

The 36-year-old from Cheshire will be in the middle when Alan Pardew’s side face their bitter north East rivals on Sunday at St James’s Park.

He will be assisted by 2010 World Cup final linesmen Darren Cann (Norfolk) and Mike Mullarkey (Devon) on Tyneside while the fourth official will be Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

Cann oversaw his final game as a Fifa assistant referee last week as part of Martin Atkinson’s officiating team for the Champions League match between Barcelona and PSG at the Nou Camp having reached the mandatory retirement age of 45.

Man for the big occasion: Mike Mullarkey was a linesman in the World Cup and Champions League finals of 2010
Man for the big occasion: Mike Mullarkey was a linesman in the World Cup and Champions League finals of 2010

Mullarkey was in the spotlight yesterday for failing to spot that Juan Mata was offside for Manchester United’s second goal in their 3-0 victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Only Atkinson has taken charge of more Premier League games than the 12 officiated by Taylor so far this season.

Taylor – from Wythenshawe in Greater Manchester – has become a more prominent member of the Select Group of officials having been entrusted with some high-profile matches in the past 12 months.

He took control of leaders Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool last month but was criticised by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers for failing to award a penalty for a late handball by Gary Cahill.

His last top-flight match was the eventful encounter between Stoke and Arsenal on December 6 – in which he awarded the Gunners a penalty and sent off their defender Calum Chambers for a second bookable offence (his only red card of the campaign).

Last weekend, Taylor was the fourth official to Bobby Madley for Swansea’s clash with Tottenham at the Liberty Stadium.

The rest of the weekend's Premier League match official appointments
The rest of the weekend’s Premier League match official appointments

It is widely regarded among refereeing circles that the appointment is deserved based on a series of consistent performances this term.

Taylor has only dropped into the Football League once in 2014/15 for the goalless draw between Midlands rivals Wolves and Birmingham at the start of November.

The Altrincham FC supporter has overseen both teams once this season – Sunderland’s goalless draw with Burnley in September and Newcastle’s victory at Tottenham a month later.

This is a fifth full season as a Premier League referee for Taylor, who had previously been on the National List since 2006-07.

Following his first in April 2010, he has gone on to officiate over 80 top-flight games and progressed into one of the more experienced campaigners – with an inclusion on the Fifa list coming in 2013.

Taylor will be tasked with keeping highly-charged emotions in check in what is widely renowned as a fiesty and tempestuous fixture – which has produced five red cards in the last eight Premier League contests.

Last season, referee Lee Probert also made his Tyne Wear derby debut in the first showdown of the campaign as the Black Cats ran out 2-1 winners at the Stadium of Light in October.

In February, Phil Dowd was appointed to the clash at St James’s Park in which Sunderland ran out 3-0 winners – with their opening goal by on-loan Liverpool striker Fabio Borini coming from the penalty spot.

Gus Poyet’s team are searching for a fourth successive league victory over Newcastle for the first time since the 1920s.

The 153rd meeting between the two sides will kick off at 13:30 BST on Sunday, with coverage on Sky Sports 1 commencing an hour earlier.

Elsewhere, Michael Oliver will oversee the second match on Sunday between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield.