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Rochdale 1 v 0 Tranmere Rovers
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 11th September 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Refwatch: Rochdale vs Tranmere Rovers
Friday, 10th Sep 2021 18:00 by TVOS

Charles Breakspear will make his Spotland debut on Saturday for Dale’s home match against Tranmere Rovers.

The Surrey-based official is in his ninth season on the National List, but this is the first time we have seen him in our little corner of Lancashire.

Charles has been one of the top-rated EFL referees in recent seasons and has been involved in the League Two play-offs in the last three campaigns.

He was also the man in the middle for Sunderland v Tranmere in last season’s Papa John’s Trophy Final at Wembley.

When a fixture is a local derby or has some other potential ‘needle’ attached to it, you often find referees being appointed from outside the normal geographical area, particularly if they are near the top of the ratings.

It could be coincidental, of course, and Charles could be up north on business, but given the controversy surrounding Tranmere’s relegation from League One on points per game in 2019/20, it would seem this match has been earmarked for one such official.

Despite this being Mr Breakspear’s first Spotland appointment, we have seen him six times on the road.

We first saw him at Colchester in December 2014, where Keith Hill’s men were impressive 4-1 winners.

Two years later, Charles refereed Dale’s 1-1 draw at Maidstone in the FA Cup and a further 12 months after that, he took charge of a 2-1 midweek defeat at Charlton.

In September 2018, the Surrey whistler was the referee for Dale’s trip to Coventry, where Calvin Andrew scored the only goal of the game.

Calvin then put through his own goal at Charlton on the final day of that season, where Charles was in the middle as Dale went down to a 4-0 defeat.

More recently, Breakspear was the referee at MK Dons in January 2020, where his last-minute penalty award handed the home side a 2-1 win over Brian Barry-Murphy’s Rochdale.

All those matches have been free from controversy and a high card count, which goes against the reputation Charles has for being a strong disciplinarian on the field of play.

This hasn’t materialised to any great degree this term, as his six games have seen only 16 yellow cards and one red.

Last season, though, Breakspear refereed 34 games and showed 126 yellow cards and six reds. The season before, his 32 matches featured 140 yellow cards and 12 reds!

Photo: Action Images

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