POLICE will use barriers to cordon off away supporters at Sunday's FA Cup derby match between Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

It will be the first time that the barriers have been used at the Stadium of Light for a game involving the Teessiders, but they have been used twice before for games against Newcastle.

Thefourth round game between the Premiership and Championship sides is classed as a high risk game and there will be a big police presence to ensure it passes off peacefully.

The metal barriers will be positioned at various points along the route to the ground and around the Stadium of Light, including the South West corner, where up to 3,000 Middlesbrough fans will be seated.

Northumbria Police's match day commander, Chief Superintendent Dave Pryer, said: "The primary objective of police cordons is to ensure the safety of fans.

"The fact that opposing supporters are not in close proximity and in sight of each other helps reduce tension."

Police have prepared for the match with both clubs and Sunderland City Council and Middlesbrough stewards will travel on three official coaches from Teesside and be in ground during the match.

Middlesbrough fans are being urged to take the coaches as there will be only a limited rail service between Teesside and Wearside.

*Northern Rail will double the size of its 9.31am Middlesbrough-Sunderland train and the return journey at 4.21pm to cater for increased demand.