The first game between the sides in nearly eight years will undoubtedly generate an explosive atmosphere, and the police are taking no chances. However, they are wary about several things that could potentially incite trouble, and know that the force may face several new challenges on match night. The evening kick off gives fans the greater chance to drink before the game, and as the game is a cup-tie, there will be more away fans, as Pompey are allocated 15% of tickets, compared with roughly 10% for Premiership games. The increased traffic at the time of day, and that the match kicks off in the dark also pose problems for officers.
However, the police are confident that the evening will see little incident off the pitch. Head of Southampton Police, Paul Strickler, was keen to stress that there was no reason to suspect any major trouble between rival fans, in what is promising to be an interesting build up to Christmas.