This will be the third time that Stephen Martin has been the man in the middle for a Reading game this season, the first official to have that honour (!) this campaign.
He previously took charge of the 2-0 win against Bristol City in September as well as the 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in January, when he awarded the Royals a penalty which Matěj Vydra missed. The only other game he has reffed involving the Biscuitmen was a 3-1 defeat to Barnsley in 2014 when he also pointed to the spot. On this occasion we scored through Pavel Pogrebnyak. *we miss you Pog*
So far in 2015-16, Martin has officiated 27 games in all competitions, showing 62 yellow cards and four red cards. On top of this, he has given seven penalties.
It appears that Martin was destined to go into refereeing, as firstly, his father Andy was a Premier League whistle-blower in the 1990s. Furthermore, the Staffordshire official’s namesake err… Stephen Martin, was an Australian rugby referee in the 1980s before going on to be an MP in his nation’s government. Maybe we’ll see football’s Stephen Martin in the House of Commons in 10 years’ time!
The assistant referees at the AMEX Stadium will be Adam Crysell and Elliott Kaye, whilst on fourth official duty is Nicholas Kinseley.