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)

SkyBet Championship: Tony Harrington to referee Wolves v Aston Villa

The referee has been announced for Saturday’s Midlands derby in the televised evening kick-off at Molineux.

On the box: It will be Harrington’s fourth TV match of the season – two in the Championship, one in League One and one in the EFL Cup (Picture from Sky Sports)

The referee has been announced for Saturday’s SkyBet Championship clash between Wolves and Aston Villa.

Tony Harrington will take charge of the evening kick-off at Molineux, which will be televised live on Sky Sports (KO 17:30 GMT).

The Cleveland whistler has will be assisted for the Midlands derby by Ian Cooper (Kent) and Timothy Wood (Gloucestershire), with Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire) acting as fourth official.

Harrington – a Select Group 2 referee – will oversee his 21st game of the season in all competitions this weekend, which will be his 16th in the second tier.

He has so far brandished 87 yellow cards, sent off two players and awarded two penalties.

The Hartlepool-based official has encountered both sides on previous occasion each this term back in September – in Wolves’ 2-1 defeat at Wigan and Aston Villa’s goalless draw at Ipswich.

Harrington was the subject of criticism from Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez after his side’s victory over Cardiff in November for not protecting his players enough.

After four years as an EFL assistant referee and four years in the National League and National League North, he was promoted to the Football League referees list at the start of the 2012-13 season.

Despite collecting the most bookings in the league this season, Villa are yet to receive a single red card – a statistic which could change in the hotbed of a derby atmosphere, albeit Harrington has a lenient reputation.

The game will see Wolves boss Paul Lambert face his old club for the first time since leaving in February 2015 on a day when the memory of Graham Taylor, who managed both clubs, will be honoured.


You can see the rest of the EFL match official appointments for this weekend here.

Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday play out goalless draw

Hull City missed out on going four points clear at the Championship summit after a goalless draw with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday, who had Fernando Forestieri controversially sent off late on.

  •  Hull stay two points clear at top of table
  •  Fifth successive clean sheet for the Tigers
  •  Wednesday hold four-point cushion in sixth
  •  Forestieri sent off in successive games
Tim Robinson sends off Fernando Forestieri
Injustice: Forestieri will feel harshly done by after being accused of diving and will now serve a two-game ban (Picture from Sky Sports)

PROMOTION hopefuls Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday played out a goalless Yorkshire derby in the Championship at the KC Stadium.

Wednesday had the better of the first half as Fernando Forestieri struck the crossbar with a fierce 25-yard effort.

But Hull dominated the second period with Sam Clucas hitting the inside of the post and Abel Hernandez going close on a couple of occasions.

Forestieri – who had only just returned from a one-match ban – was controversially sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.

Fernando Forestieri pre-match (v Hull - 26th Feb 2016)
Deja vu: Forestieri was sent off in the 1-0 defeat at Preston last weekend, with one of his bookings also for simulation (Picture from Sky Sports)

The striker went over the challenge of Michael Dawson but was adjudged to have dived by referee Tim Robinson, with replays proving that the Hull captain appeared to make clear contact.

Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal felt a burning sense of injustice and that Forestieri could have broken his leg, while even Hull counterpart Steve Bruce admitted the decision was “harsh” and “poor”.

The result means the Tigers miss out on the chance to go four points clear ahead of second-placed Burnley’s trip to Bolton tomorrow, while Wednesday remain two points behind Derby in sixth place.

Steve Bruce on sidelines
Expert: Bruce is seeking a fourth promotion from the Championship to the Premier League as a manager (Picture from Sky Sports)

The sides drew 1-1 at Hillsborough in October and could not be separated again as neither team took advantage of spells in which they were on top.

Wednesday would have been happier at the interval with Forestieri going closest when rattling the woodwork with a sweetly-struck effort.

Hull defender Curtis Davies almost inadvertently scored an own goal early on when diverting Barry Bannan’s low shot towards Allan McGregor, who improvised well to save from point-blank range.

McGregor also had to tip over a Forestieri free-kick and Michael Turner almost netted on his KC Stadium return with a near-post header which looped inches over.

The hosts’ clearest sighting of goal in the opening 45 minutes came when Robert Snodgrass pulled away at the back post from Moses Odubajo’s centre but was denied superbly by Keiren Westwood.

The second half was in stark contrast, with the league leaders upping the ante to put a tiring Wednesday on the back foot.

Carlos Carvalhal on sidelines
Away struggles: Wednesday have won one of their last six on the road and taken just 19 of their 55 points away from Hillsborough (Picture from Sky Sports)

Clucas passed up a glorious chance when played in by Andy Robertson before curling against the inside of the post after exchanging passes with Snodgrass on the edge of the box.

The unusually quiet Hernandez, Hull’s leading scorer this term, forced Westwood in to action on three different occasions and Davies headed wide from a Snodgrass corner.

Following the game’s biggest talking point, Wednesday survived five minutes of stoppage time with 10 men to hold out for an important point but are now winless in three league games.

For Hull, it was another frustrating evening as Bruce’s men had to settle for a second successive stalemate on home soil having failed to break Brighton’s resolve 10 days ago.

The KC Stadium pre-match (v Sheffield Weds - 26th Feb 2016)
Solid: Hull City have only lost once and conceded six league goals at the KC Stadium this season (Picture from Sky Sports)


Hull City XI (v Sheffield Wednesday - 26th Feb 2016)
Unchanged: Steve Bruce named the same team as Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Ipswich Town (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Powell (on for Meyler 62′), Akpom (on for Diame 78′) and Elmohamady (on for Snodgrass 90+3′).

Not used:  Jakupovic (GK), Maguire, Maloney, Huddlestone.

Booked:  None


Sheffield Wednesday XI (v Hull City - 26th Feb 2016)
Five changes: Joe Bennett made his league debut and Sam Hutchinson returned from three games out as Ross Wallace and Atdhe Nuhiu were among those left out (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Wallace (on for McGeady 64′), Lopez (on for Hutchinson 67′) and Nuhiu (on for Hooper 83′).

Not used:  Price (GK), Loovens, McGugan, Lucas Joao.

Booked:  Bennett (56′), Forestieri (85′)

Sent-off:  Forestieri (90+1′)


Tim Robinson in action
Late controversy: Robinson had enjoyed a good game before his dubious decision to send off Forestieri late on (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referee:  Tim Robinson (West Sussex) – 7/10
Attendance:  TBC

Sheffield Wednesday ready for ‘toughest test’ against Hull City

Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal believes his side will face the best team in the SkyBet Championship when visiting leaders Hull City at the KC Stadium on Friday night.

Carlos Carvalhal on sidelines (v Leeds - 16th Jan 2016)
Record: Carvalhal has won 19, drawn 12 and lost nine of his 40 games in charge of the south Yorkshire club to date (Picture from Sky Sports)

Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal has described Friday’s SkyBet Championship game against Hull City as his side’s “toughest test of the season”.

Speaking to the club’s website, Carvalhal believes Wednesday will be up against the best team in the division when the Owls face Steve Bruce’s league leaders at the KC Stadium.

He said: “They are probably the best team in the competition about everything, the quality of the players, the organisation, the coach, the time they have had with the coach and the understanding he has of the competition.

“They understand that they have a way to play, it is very clear and that is why they are in this position at the moment.”

Hull have only lost once and conceded six goals at home this term but sixth-placed Wednesday have the second-best attack in the division, having scored 50 goals in 33 league games.

With that in mind, Carvalhal thinks it has the makings for ‘an interesting game’.

The Portuguese, in his first season in charge, said: “They are one of the more compact teams of the competition, they have one of the best defences but we have one of the best attacks so it will be interesting.

“I’m not saying that we will be playing all the time in the attack, of course not, but it will be two teams with different characteristics.”

The sides drew 1-1 at Hillsborough at October when Abel Hernandez cancelled out Fernando Forestieri’s opener – and Carvalhal expects another tight contest between two good teams.

He added: “From our part we know exactly their team dynamic, we have studied them very well and I am sure my colleague at Hull has done the same.

“It will be tough for us but for them as well, I think also, because I believe they have respect for our team.”

A win would move Wednesday level on points with fifth-placed Derby, who play Wolves at Molineux in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off.

Hull could go four points clear at the summit before second-placed Burnley travel to Lancashire rivals Bolton the following day.

Lee Probert selected as referee for 2014 FA Cup Final

Lee Probert has been selected to referee the 2014 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Hull City on May 17, the Football Association has announced.

Lee Probert pulls out yellow card (Hull v Man Utd - 24th May 2015)
Whistler: Probert will be in charge of his first major final when Arsenal meet Hull in the all-Premier League showpiece (Picture from Sky Sports)

LEE Probert will take charge of the 2014 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium next month.

Probert will complete a hat-trick of appearances at the national stadium after previously refereeing the 2010 FA Trophy Final and was fourth official for the 2011 FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Stoke City.

The 41-year-old, born in Gloucestershire but based in Wiltshire, will be joined by linesmen Jake Collin (Liverpool) and Mick McDonough (Tyne & Wear).

Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) will be the fourth official and Simon Bennett (Staffordshire) the reserve assistant referee on Saturday, May 17 – a week after the Premier League season ends.

With referees only allowed to take charge of the FA Cup Final once in their careers, the appointment is a great honour for Probert.

He said: “To be given the opportunity to walk out as the referee for an FA Cup final is the highest accolade in English football. It’s a massive honour and I am absolutely delighted.

“It still hasn’t really sunk in to be honest. When I got the phone call, I have to say I did shed a tear and look to the sky.

“The first person I thought about was my dad, who I lost six years ago. He was always there to support me throughout my career and it’s payback for all his hard work, taking me here, there and everywhere, encouraging me to never give up.

“When I walk out on 17 May, I know he’ll be chuffed to bits.”

Probert’s early career saw him progress through to the Conference South before making the step up to the Football League in 1998.

He has been part of the Select Group of referees since 2007 and in 2010 became a FIFA-listed referee, making him eligible to officiate UEFA Internationals and matches in the Champions League and Europa League.

The official has overseen 27 domestic games so far this term, brandishing 48 yellow cards and five reds while awarding six penalties.

He took charge of Hull’s fifth round tie away at Brighton, booking Robert Koren and Sone Aluko in one of three FA Cup appointments in 2013-14.

Probert had to apologise to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after advising Mike Dean to send off the Frenchman at Old Trafford in August 2009 but the Gunners are unbeaten in the last five games he has refereed, including three wins and a draw this term.

In contrast, Hull have not won any of their last six matches with Probert in the middle, stretching back to 2009.

Kevin Small, Referee Development Officer at the Wiltshire FA, said: “We are very proud that Lee is a Wiltshire referee and regularly use his achievements in the Premier League or as a FIFA referee to inspire our younger referees to aim high in their careers.

“We are delighted with the news that Lee has been selected to referee this season’s FA Cup Final. It’s a great honour for him and for our county and he becomes only the second Wiltshire official to be picked to referee The Final, the first being Bill Russell in 1924.

“We hope Lee has a great game and enjoys his day at Wembley.”

The Gunners face the Tigers with kick-off at 17:00 BST and live coverage broadcast on both ITV and BT Sport.

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