Police gearing up for Steel City Derby clash

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POLICE have warned hooligan football fans plotting to cause trouble at the Sheffield derby: “We’re watching you.”

A team of 350 officers will be on duty on Sunday when Sheffield Wednesday play Sheffield United at Hillsborough for the second time this season.

Supt Simon Verrall, in charge of policing the game, said the force was aware of small pockets of fans intent on causing trouble and officers were monitoring them.

The top-of-the-table clash is a sell-out and police have spent months putting together a plan to keep rival fans apart.

Police spotters will mingle with fans looking for known troublemakers and CCTV cameras will monitor the crowds inside and outside the stadium.

Supt Verrall said: “We want to make sure that people can enjoy the game safely and if people are planning on causing trouble - which we are hearing about - we want them to know we are intent on making sure they don’t get to see the game.

“We will be working with the club to identify those we don’t want in the ground, to deny them access.”

Officers will be on foot, on horseback and with dogs.

The police helicopter will monitor crowds around the stadium before and after the game, which kicks off at 1pm, and can track groups.

Rival fans will be kept apart at the end of the game by crowd control barriers outside Hillsborough following a trial at the Owls game with West Ham earlier this season.

The seven-foot high steel barriers will be used to keep fans apart at a notorious clash point outside the West Stand on Leppings Lane, which will be used by around 5,000 away fans.

Police want to keep them separated from Owls fans leaving from the nearby North Stand.

Police warned they will use powers to ban people from specific areas, including Hillsborough and the city centre, if they find them causing alcohol-related trouble or if they suspect they are likely to get embroiled in disorder.

There are currently 161 football fans linked to Wednesday and United who are serving Football Banning Orders, which prevent them from attending the match or being near Hillsborough on match day.