Near 8,000 Sunderland invasion biggest in decades at Bloomfield Road to face Blackpool

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Police are preparing for the biggest away following in a generation for Blackpool’s New Year’s Day clash with Sunderland.

The promotion-chasing Black Cats have sold out their 7,759 allocation for the Bloomfield Road clash - with the red and white army set to dwarf the home contingent.

The match is classed as Category B by police – lower than a game against Preston North End for example, but higher than a normal home game.

Not since the 1970s have an away team had such a big following at Bloomfield Road when the old ‘Spion Kop’ was used to house visiting fans.

Supt Jackie Kingsman, of Lancashire Police, said: “We will approach it no differently to other fixtures.

“We will have more officers and you will see more mounted officers and while we recognise there will be a significant number of away fans, we’re not anticipating any issues.

“We expect them to be in good spirits.”

The Sunderland fans will be housed in the North Stand and the usually empty East Stand.