Peter Bankes will become the first referee to take charge of three Reading games in 2015-16 when he blows his whistle against Walsall on Saturday afternoon. Isn’t he lucky?
His previous games in charge of the Royals this campaign have both been firsts. He was the man in the middle in our first day 2-1 loss to Birmingham City when he awarded us a penalty which Orlando Sa missed, whilst he also took charge of Brian McDermott’s first game back as boss of the Biscuitmen against Blackburn in December which we won 1-0. To carry on the theme, Saturday will be the first FA Cup home tie that Reading have had since January 2013 (not including replays).
In this season’s competition, Bankes was the official for the first round tie between Scunthorpe and Southend (2-1), as well as Shrewsbury Town’s shock 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the third round. Overall, the Merseyside ref has officiated 24 games this season, handing out 94 yellow cards and one red – to Shrewsbury’s Ian Black against tomorrow’s opponents Walsall.
He’s also awarded three penalties, including two against the Saddlers in their 2-1 League Cup win over Brighton in August. Hopefully there’s not another upset on the cards (ha, ha) in Berkshire this weekend.
The assistant referees for the Madjeski Stadium clash are Amy Fearn and Adrian Tranter, whilst the fourth official will be Brendan Malone.