Paul Durkin is the referee

Last updated : 15 March 2002 By Tony Scholes

The game is in the hands of 45 year-old Paul Durkin from Portland in Dorset who has not only been on the Premiership list since it started in 1992 but is also one of our FIFA referees. We haven't seen him at Burnley over these years due to the fact that until recently Premiership referees were exclusive to that league.

That is no longer the case and fifteen of the twenty-one league games he has refereed this season have been in the Premiership. He can add five cup ties to that and in those 26 game he has issued 61 yellow cards and 5 red cards.

As is the case with just about every referee there have been more yellow cards issued to visiting players and Durkin's record this season is 24-37. He has kept three clean sheets whilst the most yellows in a game was eight in the Premiership match at Old Trafford between Manchester United and West Ham. Five of those were to Manchester United players so he certainly has some bottle. I can't imagine he will be on Alex Ferguson's Christmas card list.

The red cards have gone to Plymouth's Micky Evans in their 3-2 FA Cup win at home to Whitby, Arsenal's Giovanni van Bronckhorst in a 2-1 win at Leicester, David Thompson of Coventry in a 3-1 league defeat at Wolves and Middlesbrough's Gianluca Festa in a 1-0 win at Sunderland.

Then there was the last of the five in the last match he refereed. On that game he sent off Andy Cole for stamping on Mike Whitlow and seemed to upset Sourness at the same time. Mike Whitlow isn't a stranger to Paul Durkin though and two seasons ago he was one of three players he sent off in a First Division game between Charlton and Bolton.

This is certainly Paul Durkin's first Burnley match in over ten years if at all but he did take charge of a Preston game a couple of seasons ago in the FA Cup at Plymouth.