Ashton referee gearing up for heavyweight Football League encounter
Saturday 10th December 2016 @ 17:10 by Adam Higgins
Ashton Football Sports

A Football League referee from Ashton-under-Lyne will experience his first taste of one of English football’s fiercest rivalries this weekend. 

Chris Kavanagh, who hails from Manchester but lives in Tameside, has been appointed to take charge of Derby County’s televised SkyBet Championship clash against east Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest at Pride Park on Sunday.

He will be assisted by fellow officials from Lancashire – linesmen Nick Greenhalgh and James Mainwaring, as well as fourth official Darren Bond.

Kavanagh quit his day job as Referee Development Manager at Manchester County FA last summer to take up refereeing full-time and be part of Select Group 2 – which consists of 18 professional referees who primarily officiate in the Championship in an attempt to drive up standards.

One of his most high-profile career appointments to date was his one and only appearance at Wembley Stadium, as fourth official for Glossop North End’s defeat by North Shields in the final of the FA Vase in May 2015.

Sunday’s eagerly-awaited encounter will represent Kavanagh’s 20th game of the season in all competitions – and third in front of the Sky cameras, after presiding over Bristol Rovers’ EFL Cup first round success over Cardiff City in August and Aston Villa’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle in the Championship the following month.

The 30-year-old, who is currently in his third season in the Football League, is being considered for future promotion to the Premier League’s Select Group of referees – and has already crossed paths with some top-flight teams in cup competitions this term.

He was in the middle for Everton’s 4-0 EFL Cup second round victory against Yeovil and put in a solid display when Hull beat fellow top-flight side Stoke 2-1 in the third round.

Kavanagh also hit the headlines in October after sending Sunderland boss David Moyes to the stands during their fourth-round defeat at Southampton for swearing at fourth official James Adcock – who refereed Curzon Ashton’s FA Cup defeat by Wimbledon last weekend.

It later emerged in a post-match interview that, when asked by a reporter, Moyes had no idea who Kavanagh was.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Preston boss Simon Grayson expressed his frustration after Kavanagh admitted he had missed two penalties for his side in their 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle.

He has so far brandished 65 yellow cards and awarded three penalties this season but is yet to send off a player – a statistic which could change in what is likely to be an intense encounter between the sides separated by 15 miles across the Midlands.


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Establishing his name: Kavanagh, who has been refereeing since 1998, has more than 60 Football League games under his belt