Nottinghamshire-based referee David Coote will be overseeing affairs at Madejski Stadium when we meet Stoke City this weekend… the first time he’s overseen a Royals fixture since Paul Clement’s first game in charge!
It was a happy ending that afternoon as Sone Aluko’s stunning strike (and a stern rearguard performance) earned us a 1-0 win against Queens Park Rangers… although he did dismiss a Royal that day. Less than 20 minutes after coming off the bench, Yann Kermorgant was twice booked by Coote but our boys stood strong even when a man down.
That was the third time in his officiating career that he had sent off a Royal – Garath McCleary was shown a straight red at Oakwell after tangling with Barnsley’s Conor Hourihane… but it was the same kind of story as the Royals held out for a 2-1 win. And previous to that, a 3-1 win away at QPR in 2014 as Kaspars Gorkss was dismissed after all the goals had gone in.
So Saturday will be his 13th time in charge of a Reading fixture, and the seventh here at Madejski Stadium, dating back to a 2-0 victory against Coventry City in 2012.
Conversely it’ll be just his third time refereeing a game involving the Potters – a Capital One Cup win in Tranmere in 2013, and a Championship victory away at Norwich less than two months ago.
After being promoted to the Select Group 1 of the PGMOL in the summer, he has also made his first steps in refereeing in the Premier League in 2018-19 – most recently looking after Everton’s 3-1 win over Brighton at the start of November.
Assistant referees this weekend will be Lee Betts and Stephen Child, and John Brooks the fourth official.