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Mike Dean handed Middlesbrough v Brighton clash

Aitor Karanka called for top official and Premier League man makes step down.

Experienced Premier League official Mike Dean has been handed the Championship promotion decider between Middlesbrough and Brighton at the weekend.

The game at The Riverside will decide the final automatic promotion place and which side will join already promoted Burnley in the Premier League next season.

Boro were left licking their wounds on Friday evening when they had a legitimate third goal disallowed by assistant Tom Nield at Birmingham City, which would have handed them victory.

Brighton, though, failed to capitalise on Monday - themselves only drawing with Derby, meaning Boro only need to avoid defeat to go up.

In the aftermath of the Birmingham controversy, Karanka had already called for a high class official for the game, and he has seemingly been granted his wish with Wirrall-based Dean dropping down to the second tier - having already be in charge of 31 top-flight games so far this season.

“I would like to have the very best referee. The Championship is one of the best leagues in the world and we are both playing to get promotion," Karanka confirmed over the weekend.

“I am going to put the best team possible on the pitch and Chris Hughton will put his best 11 on the pitch too and so this game needs the best referees, the best linesmen, the best fourth official - not for Brighton, not for Middlesbrough but for the league.

“This game is being watched all around the world and for the best of the league we need the best officials possible. If a referee makes one mistake the implications are huge - but even a Premier League referee can make mistakes and I prefer not to think about that.

“I can only think about my players and how we play, I can’t control the other things. That is not in my hands.”

One name missing from Football League appointments list for this weekend is Nield, following his error last weekend.

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