For the third time this season – and on the first occasion at Madejski Stadium – referee Oliver Langford will be taking charge of our game this weekend when we host Nottingham Forest.
The Midlands-based official’s previous two Royal encounters have differed in their drama levels. Our first game, away at Blackburn Rovers back in August, saw the Royals carry a two-goal lead into the break thanks to a Jón Daði Böðvarsson brace. But Langford twice awarded penalties to the home side after the interval, which Charlie Mulgrew converted each time. 2-2 it ended.
Our visit to Wigan in November was a tamer affair, finishing goalless. But Mr Langford needed the help of his assistant that afternoon to ensure that a Nick Powell goal was rightly ruled offside. His only Forest fixture this season was a fortnight before that game, and that also ended 0-0 as they hosted Stoke.
Langford has refereed in RG2 on numerous occasions; possibly the most memorable occasion in recent seasons being a 5-2 FA Cup win against Huddersfield Town, as he dismissed Jonathan Hogg for a last-man challenge.
He had a tough call to make last month when Sunderland travelled to Accrington Stanley for a League One bout – it was a record home attendance for the Lancashire club, but it had to be abandoned deep into the second half owing to torrential rain at the Crown Ground, with the weather putting players’ safety at risk with large puddles forming and the ball sticking to the surface.
Assistant referees this weekend are Adam Crysell and Akil Howson, while the fourth official is Charles Breakspear.