For the third time this season, but the first at Deepdale North End will have Steve Martin as the match official for a game when we face Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town on Good Friday.
The experienced ref was in charge of the Lilywhites 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest in December, when Louis Moult scored the only goal of the game and then the trip to Millwall earlier this year, when we came away with a 3-1 victory at the Den.
Last season we saw the referee twice, the home game against Hull City in February and the away game at Wolves back in October 2017.
The 2016/17 campaign he took charge of three North End games, having been the man with the whistle of our home win over Cardiff City in September 2016, our away win at Norwich City in October and the 1-1 home draw with Ipswich Town in January 2017 – so he has done this fixture before!
The 3-0 win over the Bluebirds was his first clash at Deepdale since the EFL Cup second round victory over Watford in 2015/16, when Marnick Vermijl’s goal won the tie for the Lilywhites.
He also officiated PNE in March 2013 when we drew 0-0 with Leyton Orient. He also, however, refereed North End twice after then on the road – red cards being produced in both encounters.
He sent off Oldham Athletic’s Johnson Clarke-Harris when the Lilywhites beat the Latics 3-1 at Boundary Park in March 2014. And he was also the man in the middle when PNE made the long journey to Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup in 2014/15, sending off two Havant players in the live televised match as PNE swept their non-league opponents aside 3-0 thanks to Callum Robinson’s hat-trick.
This weekend his team will see him assisted by Jonathan Hunt and Mark Jones, whilst the fourth official will be Ollie Yates. This will be Stephen’s 32nd game of the season, having issued 80 yellow cards and three reds, his last game being Reading’s 2-1 home win over Brentford last Saturday.