COLCHESTER referee Aaron Farmer is set to feature in the Football League next season after earning back-to-back promotions.

The 22-year-old assistant referee could be involved in both League One and League Two games in the 2019-20 EFL campaign, after his impressive rise to prominence continued.

Farmer, who has been refereeing since he was 14 years old, has just enjoyed a productive season which culminated in the Essex FA official being an assistant referee in last month’s National League play-off semi-final between Solihull Moors and AFC Fylde.

Now the hard-working Bostik League referee is gearing up for a gruelling fitness test in Loughborough this weekend which he hopes will seal his new-found status as a fully-fledged EFL linesman assistant referee.

Farmer told the Gazette: “I’m delighted to be in this position and it’s now about making sure I learn my trade adapt to this level and apply myself the right way, to give myself the best chance to progress.

“It’s a learning curve for me but it’s exciting to think about the level of football I’ll be officiating on.

“It’s a step up but one that I’m really looking forward to.

“There’s nothing more positive than representing the Essex County FA, as well as the National FA.

“I could be potentially walking out in front of a crowd of 15,000 next season, which is surreal and something I never thought I would be doing when I first started."

“It gives you an absolute buzz when you walk out on the pitch.

“You will never always be able to keep everyone happy because you have to make tough decisions.

“But it’s the biggest achievement I’ve had so far and it’s about making my family proud.

“I’ve always wanted to perform at the highest level I possibly can.”

Farmer has been refereeing since the age of 14, presiding over games in the likes of the Thurlow Nunn League, Essex and Suffolk Border League and Colchester and East Essex League over the years.

“I go out and treat every game as if it’s my last, because you never know when the day may be when you can’t continue,” said Farmer, who was assistant referee for the FA County Youth Cup Final in Rochdale, last April.

“I’m ambitious and I’m always striving to achieve my next target.

“I’m delighted to be where I am but my goal is to be at the World Cup.

“If you don’t aim high, then how can you progress?

“I’m a big believer that if you work hard, you make your own luck.

“I’ve put the hard work in and I’m at the gym most mornings at 6am.

“There have been a lot of people who have helped me along the way.

“James Lisher, the former Essex FA Senior Referee Development Officer has been particularly helpful, as have all of the coaches I’ve had at the Colchester Referees Association, from Essex FA and the National FA.

“There are plenty of people who deserve a lot of credit for helping me get to where I am and the leagues I’ve officiated in have helped provide the grounding for me to work hard and learn my trade.

“It’s really important to inspire the younger generation of officials and support them to help them reach their goals."

“I know it’s a long way off but I need to make sure that there are people who are ready to step up my place when I retire.

“There’s a lot of refereeing talent in Essex and it just needs to be developed which is currently being developed.

“The County FA have been brilliant in terms of support and guidance, as too have the National FA.”