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When we beat Bolton 1-0 at the then named Reebok Stadium in February 2014, the game was refereed by Graham Salisbury with his son Michael acting as fourth official on the night.

It was Graham’s second Burnley game and it proved to be his last although he didn’t hang up his whistle until the end of the 2020/21 season. Son Michael will, however, referee a Burnley game for the first time tonight and at a time when he’s been hit with some controversy.

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He was on VAR duty for the Tottenham v Brighton game two days ago, a game where the spotlight was to fall on him on more than one occasion. PGMOL have apologised to Brighton for his failure to spot one penalty and I’d be concerned at some of his other decisions on the afternoon.

Michael, from Penwortham, became a Select Group official in 2021 but didn’t referee a Burnley game last season when he was given three Premier League games, the first of them coming at Crystal Palace in November of that year.

This season, he’s refereed thirteen top flight games out of a total of 25, adding to six Championship games and three in each of the two cup competitions. In those games he’s shown 91 yellow and three red cards. Of the yellows, 45 have gone to home team players and 46 to away team players.

He sent off Tyler Adams as Leeds went down 4-3 at Tottenham in November and the other two red cards came in his most recent game when, this time against Leeds, he dismissed Wolves pair Jonny and Matheus Nunes, the latter having been an unused substitute.

It led to Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui hitting out strongly at Salisbury but probably the one big decision the referee got wrong that day was not red carding Craig Dawson for a foul on Jack Harrison.

It was a busy day for him. Besides the red cards, he yellowed Dawson for that awful challenge, Nelson Semedo and João Gomes along with five Leeds players, namely Ilian Meslier, Luke Ayling, Junior Firpo, Marc Roca and Weston McKennie. For the record, Wolves won the game 4-2.

That game was over three weeks ago; tonight is his first game since.

Fourth official tonight is Simon Mather. He’s been a Football League referee since the start of last season but is still to referee a game at Championship level.

Match Officials

Referee: Michael Salisbury
Assistant Referees: Matthew Wilkes & Harry Lennard
Fourth Official: Simon Mather

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