The Man in the Middle – Wigan Athletic

The Imps travel to struggling Wigan this weekend, looking to grab three vital points in the push for a spot in next season’s Championship.

The Latics featured there last season, but we hope to be in the second tier by the time 21/22 kicks off. If we aspire to that, which we do, then these are the games you have to win. However, will we be affected by a low-quality official?

Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistants: Marvyn Amphlett and Paul Stonier
Fourth Official: Anthony Backhouse

Trevor Kettle is a name many will be familiar with, one that had often crossed our path having been a referee since 2002/03. I know I’ve screamed abuse at him before, but not at the first imps game he officiated in – a 4-1 win against Mansfield Town back in Keith’s days.

Back in 2015, when we were taking a break from the Football League, he was proven to be one of the most card-happy officials in the English game. Whilst that might not be a good thing when he’s the referee, I am behind the concept of him taking no nonsense from the pantomime villains this weekend – he even once sent off Danny Cowley and seemingly takes no rubbish from anyone.

I did praise him highly back when we beat Barnet 2-1 in 2017/18, he let the game flow and generally, football was the winner. I know some fans shudder at his name, but he isn’t the same fearsome figure he once was. He has calmed down a little in recent years, this season he’s shown four reds in 22 matches, one every five matches or so, the most recent of which came this weekend at Bolton. He has flashed 57 yellows in 22 matches, a little under three each game.

What I hope, is we get the experienced Trevor Kettle, not the occasionally card-happy version he was in the middle of his career.