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Ref-Watch: Derby (H)

A 'big' ref for a big occasion: Select Group official MIKE JONES is in the Madejski Stadium cockpit for Saturday's top-of-the-table showdown between 6th-placed Reading and 3rd-placed Derby.

Clive Mason

As an established Premier League referee, it's not often that Mr Jones drops down a division to take charge of a Championship game: this season, the 40-something year-old from Cheshire has officiated 16 Prem matches in contrast to just 5 in the Championship.

However, when it comes to the Royals, Mike is a bit of a regular customer. Of those 5 Championship matches, two of them were Reading fixtures - our early season six-goal stalemate with Watford, and our 2-1 away loss to table-toppers Burnley (our most recent encounter with Mr Jones).

In fact, if you take a look at Jones' career table of teams he has officiated matches for, Reading sit 12th out of 94 clubs: over the course of his 17-year career, Mike has refereed 14 Royal clashes, presiding over 4 wins, 7 draws and 3 losses. Curiously, Jones has only ever awarded a single penalty and a solitary red card in Reading matches during that time.

Way back in the melting mists of time [insert appropriate Doctor Who-esque sound effect here], in the old First Division, Jones' first Reading match was a 3-0 Royal away win against MK Dons. That match was played on the 30th of August 2003 - a day on which the Goat was well and truly fed, with Shaun Goater bagging a brace.

Fast-forward back to the here and now, and Jones' Championship season has been a relatively quiet one: he is yet to dismiss a single player, and the sole penalty he has given was Troy Deeney's converted spot kick in our aforementioned 3-3 draw with the Hornets in August. He's currently averaging 3.6 yellows per game.

Good luck to Mike today, let's hope he keeps the occasion ticking over in a way befitting of his reputation.