Martin Atkinson

By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Martin Atkinson will be the referee for Newcastle's Barclays Premier League home game against Aston Villa on Sunday (kick-off 1.30pm).

The Yorkshire-based official has taken charge of two United games so far this season - both at St. James' Park.

He was the man in the middle as the Magpies beat Stoke City 5-1 on Boxing Day, while he also oversaw September's 3-2 defeat to Hull.

During the 2013/14 campaign, he has refereed 28 games across the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, Capital One Cup, League Two and international level, handing out 88 yellow cards and three red.

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

Since then he's come 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 42, has also run the rule over numerous World Cup and European Championships qualifiers and Champions League fixtures.

On Sunday, he will be assisted by Peter Kirkcup and Simon Long, with Neil Swarbrick the game's fourth official.

Tickets for Sunday's Barclays Premier League fixture against Aston Villa are still available. To secure your seat, click here