Cheick Tiote is sent off at Sunderland

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter


Martin Atkinson will take charge of Newcastle United's Barclay's Premier League trip to newly-promoted Southampton on Sunday (3pm kick-off).

It is the third time the Yorkshire-based official has overseen a Magpies' match this season - having been in the middle of the opening day home win over Tottenham, as well as United's 1-1 Tyne-Wear derby draw at Sunderland in October.

On that day at the Stadium of Light, Atkinson booked Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Yohan Cabaye and Shola Ameobi, and issued a straight red card to Cheick Tiote midway through the first half.

In total this term, he has refereed 16 games across the Premier League, Championship, Champions League, Europa League and international stage, handing out 64 yellow cards and one red - to Tiote.

Having started refereeing at the age of 16 in his local Bradford leagues, Atkinson rose through the leagues and was appointed to his first top flight fixture in April 2005, as Manchester City took on Birmingham City.

He has grown in stature to be regarded as one of the country's top referees and in recent years has overseen the 2006 FA Community Shield between Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as the 2011 FA Cup Final which saw Manchester City defeat Stoke.

Atkinson, aged 41, has also run the rule over numerous World Cup and European Championships qualifiers and Champions League fixtures

On Sunday at St. Mary's Stadium, Peter Kirkup and Mark Scholes will be Atkinson's assistants, with Lee Probert the game's fourth official.