For the third time this season and for the second time versus Reading, Andy Madley will be the match referee for the Lilywhites’ fixture.
Having taken charge of the 1-0 win over the Royals at Deepdale back in August, there has been a bit of a gap since his last game, when we played Ipswich Town at the beginning of November.
He is one of the most familiar faces in terms of match officials for North End fans, as not only did he take charge of five of our games last season, but he also refereed the Play-Off Final win at Wembley in 2015 and our last encounter with local rivals Blackpool – when Tom Clarke wrote his name in PNE folklore.
Last season he was the referee away at Queens Park Rangers, in both games we played at St James’ Park, Newcastle, the away game at Aston Villa in January and the 5-0 home thrashing of Bristol City in April.
He also had the whistle for three PNE games in 2014/15, including the win at Wembley, having been the referee in the first league win of the season, the 4-0 triumph at Scunthorpe United back in August of 2014 and then the live TV game against Fleetwood Town at Highbury in March 2015.
Mr Madley, as mentioned, was also in charge of our now memorable League Cup win over Blackpool in 2013/14 and then at Port Vale when North End won 2-0 with ten men.
This year he has so far officiated 37 games, issuing 112 cautions and just one red card. This is his fourth game in the middle for the Royals this season – as well as the game at Deepdale, he took charge of their loss at Millwall and draw at Bolton Wanderers.
He will be assisted on Saturday by Neil Davies and Lee Venamore and the fourth official will be John Busby.