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Refwatch: Rochdale v Blackpool
Refwatch: Rochdale v Blackpool
Tuesday, 20th Apr 2021 09:00 by TVOS

Craig Hicks will make his Spotland debut when he referees Dale’s home game versus Blackpool on Tuesday evening.

The official will make the long journey up from Surrey for the Lancashire derby, with the importance of the fixture at both ends of the table seeing the EFL appoint one of their top-performing referees to oversee the action.

That accolade comes from some of Craig’s recent appointments.

On Easter Monday he refereed the crucial Peterborough v Sunderland promotion fixture, while in February, Mr Hicks took charge of one of the Papa John’s Trophy semi-finals – Oxford v Tranmere.

He was then handed an appointment in the Championship to assess his suitability for promotion to Select Group 2 next season, although the 0-0 draw between Blackburn and Bristol City didn’t prove to be too challenging.

Now in his fourth season on the National List, Tuesday will be Craig’s fourth Dale game.

In November 2018 he was the referee for our trip to Oxford, where Keith Hill’s much-changed Rochdale side put on an abject performance to lose 4-2.

However, it was a different story on the following Easter Monday when he took charge of Dale’s visit to Bristol Rovers.

While Ethan Hamilton’s late goal gave Dale a 1-0 win, results elsewhere meant we were practically safe from relegation after a remarkable turnaround in form and performances.

Mr Hicks’ last Dale game was at Wycombe in January 2020 where an injury-time penalty gave the hosts a 2-1 win.

On Saturday, he was due to referee Charlton v Ipswich, which would be his 29th game of the season. The previous 28 had yielded 77 yellow cards and four red.

Photo: Action Images

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