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Referee revealed for New Year's Day

Written by Dan King

Martin Atkinson will be the referee when second-placed Leicester City come to St. James' Park on New Year's Day (kick-off 3pm GMT).

The West Yorkshire whistler has been a regular visitor to St. James' Park this season - Wednesday's game will be his fourth Newcastle United fixture of the campaign and all have been on Tyneside.

He was the man in the middle as United lost 1-0 to Arsenal on the opening weekend of 2019/20 before taking charge of September's 0-0 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion and returning in November for the 2-1 win over AFC Bournemouth.

Atkinson has refereed 18 games in all this season - 17 of them in the Premier League, with the other being August's Community Shield clash between Liverpool and Manchester City at Wembley. He has shown 53 yellow cards and three red cards.

In 2018/19, Atkinson - who has been a top flight official since 2005, and was on FIFA's list of international referees for 12 years until 2018 - dished out just two red cards over the course of the entire campaign, while he oversaw just two Newcastle fixtures; a 2-1 defeat to Spurs in August 2018, and a 0-0 draw with Fulham in December 2018.

On New Year's Day, he will be assisted at St. James' Park by Gary Beswick and Peter Kirkup while Leigh Doughty will be the fourth official.

Over at Stockley Park, the Video Assistant Referee will be Peter Bankes, who will be assisted by Darren Cann.

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