Leeds United FA Cup tie given to one of England’s youngest refs with no prior Whites experience
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Josh Smith, who was only appointed to the Select Group 2 list prior to the 2020/21 season, started refereeing in the Peterborough and District Junior Alliance League in 2006, aged 14.
From a refereeing family, Smith was promoted to the EFL’s Assistant Referee list in 2015 and then opted to specialise as a referee. Successive promotions from the National League onto the EFL referee list and then SG2 have led to him taking charge of 48 Championship matches.
Saturday will be the official’s first experience of Leeds United and his 138th game in charge. This season he has refereed 21 games, dishing out 95 yellow cards and three straight reds, one of which was shown to ex-Whites man Tom Lees.
The FA Cup clash will be his fifth in the competition. Earlier this month he was the man in the middle for Fulham’s third round win over Hull City.
Smith will be assisted by Sam Lewis and Akil Howson, with Stephen Martin as fourth official. Because Accrington of League One are the home side there will be no VAR in operation for the fourth round tie.
Leeds qualified for this stage by beating Cardiff City at the second attempt with a 5-2 victory at Elland Road, while Accrington also had to come through a replay, pipping National League side Boreham Wood 1-0 in midweek, after extra-time.