Derby fan trouble fears played down

Blackpool will meet Preston North End for the first time in more than three seasons. The match above was played in 1996.
Blackpool will meet Preston North End for the first time in more than three seasons. The match above was played in 1996.
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Police have played down fears of clashes between fans when Blackpool travel to Preston North End next month.

The upcoming Deepdale match will be the first time the two clubs have faced each other in more than three years.

Blackpool have so far sold 4,000 tickets for the August 5 tie.

Police have said there are no special arrangements in place for Seasiders fans to get to and from the ground – and officers said they have worked closely with both clubs to ensure the safety of supporters from both sides.

Pool face their Lancashire rivals in the first round of the League Cup - the fifth time they have faced each other in the competition.

It comes after Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston has previously appealed through the Gazette for fans to enjoy the game in the right spirit and not let their enthusiasm “boil over”.

The game marks the first time the clubs have met since their goalless draw at Preston in February 2010.

It will also be the 94th competitive clash between the teams.

Blackpool haven’t been drawn against Preston in any cup competition since 1994, when North End won 1-0.

In 2007, their games were marred by trouble.

Hooligans went on the rampage, attacking a pub and smashing up a double decker bus.

Blackpool fans ripped out windows and threw seats at police officers as they were ferried by bus from Preston railway station to the Deepdale ground.

A mob of 30 Preston fans later attacked a Blackpool pub with bins and bottles in a “revenge” mission as staff and customers cowered inside the pub.

Nineteen people were arrested as more than 300 police officers were drafted in to keep both sets of supporters apart during the first derby for seven years,

In 2008 more than 100 pubs from Freckleton, near Preston, to Blackpool, were asked to close for one hour before and two hours after another match between the rivals at Bloomfield Road.

But Superintendent Richard Morgan said: “We have worked closely with both clubs and there will be an appropriate policing operation in place for the match at Deepdale.”

Fiona Martin, vice chairman of Blackpool Supporters Association, said: “The rivalry between us and PNE has been built on great footballing traditions and hopefully the match will be another thrilling game between the two teams.”

The game kicks off at 7.45pm.

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