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Ref-Watch: QPR (A)

Third time's a charm. That's right: at Loftus Road this Sunday, DAVID COOTE will be back to referee a Royal rumble for the third time this season, having already taken the reins against Ipswich and Bournemouth. Here's the Ref-Watch rundown on a man quickly becoming a familiar face to Reading fans.

Ben Hoskins

No other official has refereed us more times this season than Mr Coote, and yet the country's favourite ex-cricketer-come-whistleblower will have never taken charge of a QPR match in his career until this weekend. That's quite a contrast.

Our most recent encounter with Coote was in a drab 2-1 loss to Bournemouth at the MadStad, back in early December. That forgettable match included the most yellow cards David has dished out during a single match this season - 7 yellows were accrued by both teams in total, 3 for the Royals and 4 for the victorious Cherries. In the game, Reading were sliced open twice in just four minutes, with Lewis Grabban and Matt Ritchie scoring for the away side. A traditional stoppage-time goal courtesy of substitute Adam Le Fondre arrived too late in the contest, proving to be no more than a consolation as the Royals limped to their first home defeat of the 2013/2014 season.

Unpleasant memories aside, David's been a busy chap since we last saw him: he's now up to a whopping 27 matches overseen, 11 being Championship clashes. The 38 yellow cards that have fallen within those 11 fixtures produces a weighty average of 3.45 yellows per game, and represent almost half of his 80-card total in all competitions. Numbers (and cards) galore.

Though equally non-sparing in the way of penalty decisions, having pointed to the spot no less than 6 times across all leagues, the one thing that Coote HASN'T tossed about like confetti are red cards: he's sent off a player only twice in 27 games. The first player to fall foul of David's wrath was Bournemouth goalkeeper Ryan Allsop, dismissed with a straight red in the 31st minute and helping Leeds to a 2-1 home victory over the Cherries in October. Just over a month later, the accumulation of two yellow cards meant an early exit for Peterborough centre back Shaun Brisley during the dying stages of a 2-0 away loss to Walsall, down in League One. Hopefully these stats mean the odds of another Alex Pearce-esque incident occurring at QPR on Sunday are slim at best (Jacob said hopefully, not wishing to tempt fate).

And that's all for another edition of Ref-Watch. Surely there can be no better way of celebrating David Coote' first QPR match by taking points off the Fake Hoops on Sunday afternoon.