The Man in the Middle: Blackpool (H)

City host Blackpool this weekend in the first action for more than a week.

Covid laid us low over the weekend, and other results saw us drop to 6th in the table. It’s not that bad, but in fifth are Blackpool, a side showing some decent form. They come to the Bank having not won here since September 1998, although to be fair there has only been three meetings between us since!

Who are we relying on to take charge of the game and make the big calls?

Referee: Marc Edwards

Assistants: David Avent and Hristo Karaivanov

Fourth Official: Stephen Wade

Edwards is in his second year on the EFL roster, having ascended from the National League in 2018/19. As such, there have been very few occasions where we have seen him first hand, but I’ll tell you this – don’t bank on a red card. In his four seasons, a career spanning some 93 matches, he has shown a red card on just five occasions, and only twice in the Football League.

One of those red cards, his first in the EFL, came in the final minute of our 2-0 defeat against Peterborough last season. That was the only occasion he officiated us during 19/20, but he was given the League Two play-off semi-final between Northampton and Cheltenham, such is his reputation.¬†This season, Richards caused a bit of controversy at Sincil Bank when he allowed Jorge Grant’s penalty to stand in our 2-0 win against Charlton. Lee Bowyer was incensed, but we enjoyed the three points immensely.

There’s not a lot to glean from that, but he does seem to be an unfussy referee who likes to let the game flow and keep as many players on the pitch as possible. Sounds perfect for two good footballing teams battling for a possible place in the Championship, does it not?