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Bristol Rovers 4 v 2 Rochdale
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 11th December 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Refwatch: Bristol Rovers v Rochdale
Refwatch: Bristol Rovers v Rochdale
Thursday, 9th Dec 2021 12:00 by TVOS

Dale fans may claim they follow Rochdale over land and sea, but Saturday’s referee can say that without fear of contradiction.

James Linington will travel to Bristol Rovers from his home on the Isle of Wight to referee Dale for the first time in almost nine years.

We last saw him in February 2013 for a 3-1 defeat at Northampton, which was the first loss suffered by Keith Hill in his second spell as Dale manager.

Prior to that, James was in charge at Luton in April 2009, where a 1-1 draw confirmed Dale would be in the League Two play-offs for the second year running.

Earlier in that season he had refereed the 1-1 FA Cup draw at Barnet, the game leading to a replay in which Dale came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 thanks to an Adam Le Fondre hat-trick.

Those matches took place in James’ first season on the National List and he made rapid progress over the next three years, officiating at several Championship fixtures and the League Two play-off final between Dagenham and Rotherham in May 2010.

In the summer of 2016, Linington was announced as one of the referees on the Select Group 2 list of officials and he has primarily officiated in the Championship since then, taking charge of over 140 games in the second tier in the last five seasons.

His last Championship fixture was Nottingham Forest v Fulham in October, until an injury kept him out of action for a month.

James returned to referee Gillingham v Cheltenham in League One a fortnight ago, which was his tenth game of the season. Those matches have yielded 47 yellow cards.

Photo: Action Images

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