Sheffield Derby: Why both Blades and Owls fans will remember referee for tonight's big game

Referee David Coote will be remembered by Blades fans for sending off John Fleck (obscured).
Referee David Coote will be remembered by Blades fans for sending off John Fleck (obscured).
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The man in the middle for tonight's Steel City Derby will be familiar to both Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday fans - and not for all the right reasons either.

Nottinghamshire ref David Coote has been given the task of taking charge of tonight's game at Bramall Lane - and most Blades fans will recall him from Blades' 2-1 defeat to Bristol City before Christmas when he showed John Fleck a controversial red card.

Blades boss Chris Wilder was angry at Coote's red card for Fleck against Bristol City.

Blades boss Chris Wilder was angry at Coote's red card for Fleck against Bristol City.

The midfielder went for an early bath in the December 8 contest after a wreckless challenge on Korey Smith - a decision that enraged Blades boss Chris Wilder.

Wilder said: “The game has gone if you can’t tackle like that now. That was just a proper tackle and I don’t think it deserves a red card. Maybe the referee has been watching too many Premier League games."

Coote, who started refereeing as 16-year-old, will also be known to supporters on the blue half of the city.

He was also in charge of Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Brentford on December 30 when the Owls lost 2-0 and when Daniel Pudil, Ross Wallace and Sam Hutchinson were all shown yellow cards.

Referee David Coote.

Referee David Coote.

He was in charge of Owls' 0-0 draw at Reading in November when captain Glenn Loovens was shown a yellow and also officiated in Blades 2-1 win over the Berkshire side on October 21 when David Brooks was shown a yellow.

He dished out six yellow cards in the game between Owls and Bolton on October 14 which ended in a 2-1 win for the Lancashire side, Jack Hunt, Kieran Lee and Gary Hooper all being cautioned during the game.

So far this season, he has taken charge of 20 games, dishing out 71 yellow cards and just one red - that being the dismissal of Blades' ace Fleck. The total includes eight yellows in a Championship game between Hull and Ipswich before Christmas.

Last season, he took charge of 39 fixtures, handing out 127 yellow cards and seven reds.

The last game he took charge of was Premier League Tottenham's 3-0 win FA Cup third round over Wimbledon last weekend.

The son of cricketer David Coote, who played for Nottinghamshire, he refereed in the Notts Alliance League, the Northern Counties East Football League, the Northern Premier League and the Conference North before being promoted to the Football League list of referees as an assistant referee.

His first game in this role came in a Football League Two game between Stockport County and Hereford United.

He was promoted to the list of Football League referees in 2010.

In May 2014, Coote was the referee for the 2014 Football League One play-off Final at Wembley Stadium between Leyton Orient and Rotherham United.

He will be joined by assistant referees Shaun Hudson and Nick Hopton.

The fourth official is Peter Bankes.