Cast your mind back to the opening day of the season (reminisce about the run of six wins from seven games along the way), and you’ll remember an Aaron Tshibola shot appearing to cross the line against Birmingham City. Referee Peter Bankes failed to spot it, and the Royals went on to lose 2-1. Bankes is the man in the middle once again today against Blackburn for Brian McDermott’s first game back in charge.
That fixture at St. Andrew’s was his first involving Reading, and he handed out nine yellow cards – his highest tally this season (Hector, Norwood, Obita and Tshibola were the Royals’ culprits). But he has been the assistant referee in five previous Biscuitmen games – four of which came in the Premier League in McDermott’s first spell at the club.
So far this season, the Merseyside official has taken charge of 19 games in all competitions, showing 77 yellow cards, but just the one red card, giving an average of 4.1 cards per game. Bankes has also awarded three penalties, including one in Reading’s favour on the opening day which Orlando Sa missed before Simon Cox fluffed the rebound. You’d like to think that if he pointed to the spot tomorrow, then the ever reliable Nick Blackman would tuck it away. As much as anything he needs a confidence boost with only one goal in his last nine games.
The assistant referees at the Madjeski Stadium will be Antony Coggins and Elliott Kaye, whilst the fourth official will be Nicholas Kinseley.