For our final game before Christmas, we will be officiated by a match official we have not seen since the opening home game of the season.
This weekend’s live Sky Sports fixture against Neil Harris’ Cardiff City, will be refereed by Jeremy Simpson, who took charge of his seventh game at Deepdale when we beat Wigan Athletic 3-0 back in early August.
The match official actually took charge of our last competitive home game before that too, against Sheffield Wednesday, back in April, one of three games where he was in charge the Lilywhites in 2018/19.
The Carnforth referee also had the whistle for our 1-1 draw with Bristol City at Deepdale at the beginning of March and the October clash at home to Rotherham United.
Prior to that he had not refereed the Lilywhites since January 2018, when he was the match official for the draw at Millwall, his second North End game of 2017/18; the first being 1-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers in December 2017.
In 2016/17, the select group two match official took the game for our Boxing Day clash with Leeds United and the Lilywhites’ Roses victory over Huddersfield Town in October, as well as acting as fourth official at two home games.
He also was in charge when North End took on Stoke City at PR1 in pre-season that year, and is an experienced official, with plenty of Championship action under his belt.
This will be his 13th game of the season, having so far issued 42 cautions and four red cards, two coming in his last match – Swansea City’s 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers, where a player on each side was sent off.
This weekend he will be assisted by Michael George and Robert Hyde, whilst Sam Purkiss will be the fourth official.