Profile: Experienced referee Martin Atkinson to oversee Newcastle v Sunderland

Referee Martin Atkinson will officiate today's derby between Newcastle and Sunderland at St James's Park - and he has plenty of previous experience of big games between the sides.

Newcastle United's Cheick Tiote is sent off by referee Martin Atkinson
Newcastle United's Cheick Tiote is sent off by referee Martin Atkinson

Atkinson has refereed two derbies since becoming a Premier League referee in 2005.

The first one was in 2007 at the Stadium of Light, which ended 1-1 after goals from Danny Higginbotham and James Milner. Sam Allardyce was in charge of Newcastle that day.

Atkinson’s second Wear-Tyne derby, in 2012, also ended in a 1-1 draw with an early goal from Yohan Cabaye cancelled out by a late Demba Ba own goal.

The game also saw Atkinson show a first half red card when Cheick Tiote was sent off for a high challenge on Steven Fletcher.

Atkinson’s refereeing career has seen him officiate a total of 291 matches in the Premier League, showing 986 yellow cards and 51 red cards.

He was the man in the middle during Sunderland’s 1-0 loss against West Brom in October and 1-0 win against Crystal Palace in November.

Both of the games that he has refereed Newcastle this season have ended in a draw, against Chelsea and Aston Villa.

Atkinson has officiated in 13 Sunderland Premier League away games, which have seen them win two, draw three and lose eight.

Since 2005 Atkinson has refereed 20 Newcastle home games, which they have won 13, drew two and lost five.