There was no blame attached to the Premier League and I, for one, am delighted to be able to welcome him back to Turf Moor after his successful fight against cancer that saw him out of the game for virtually the whole of the 2009/10 season.
Now aged 51 he is one of the most experienced of referees, having joined the Football League in the mid-90s and it was as long ago that he refereed his first Premier League game, a 1-1 draw between Wimbledon and Coventry in August 1999.
Hertfordshire born, but now living in Bolton, I've always rated him as one of our better referees and he certainly doesn't control games by over use of his cards, although I did once see him hand out seven yellow cards in one Burnley game.
This season he's refereed 22 games, with over half of them in the Premier League, and in those games there have been 44 yellow cards and three red cards.
In September he sent off Tottenham's Tom Huddlestone in a 1-1 home draw against Norwich and in the same month dismissed Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey in a home defeat against Manchester United, a decision challenged by Brendan Rodgers but one for which he received full support from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The only other red card this season was in the Championship. He sent off Luke Varney playing for Leeds at Millwall just after half time. Leeds went on to lose the game 1-0 to a late Chris Wood goal.
Twenty of the yellow cards have gone the way of home team player and 24 have been given to away team players. In his last game, two and a half weeks ago, he yellow carded two Everton players in their 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The players carded were Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini.
From his one qualifying game, that cup tie against Spurs, he sits seventh in the RATE THE REF Table with a rating of 82.17 out of 10. There is no guarantee that he'll have a good game but when I saw him named for this game I had absolutely no concerns.
The assistant referees tonight are Andy Halliday (North Yorkshire) and Scott Ledger (South Yorkshire). The fourth official is Football League referee Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).
Previous Burnley GamesSeason Opponents V Res Y R Burnley Players Carded 1997/98 SOUTHEND a 0-1 7 0 n Blatherwick, Cooke, Williams 1999/2000 CARDIFF a 2-1 3 1 n Branch n Little 2000/01 CRYSTAL PALACE a 1-1 5 0 n Armstrong, Cox, Wallace 2002/03 PRESTON h 2-0 0 0 2003/04 GILLINGHAM a 3-0 4 0 n Little, May, Weller 2005/06 SHEFFIELD UTD h 1-2 0 0 2008/09 TOTTENHAM h 3-2 3 0
n McCann, Duff
Source: Clarets Mad