POLICE are urging Sunderland fans to plan their plan their travel arrangements ahead of the derby game on Saturday.
Officers are encouraging Black Cats supporters to use free official club coaches to travel to St James’s Park for the Newcastle clash.
The coaches depart from the Stadium of Light for Newcastle at 10.30am and will also return Sunderland supporters to the Stadium of Light after the match.
Northumbria Police said the coaches were the quickest way to get back to Sunderland after the match last season.
Turnstiles at St James’ Park will open at 11am for the arrival of the first coaches from Sunderland, and at 11.15am for general admission.
There will be direct Metro services for Sunderland supporters on match day. Two Metros travelling direct from Sunderland station to Central Station in Newcastle. They will leave at 10.43am and 10.55am.
There will also be one direct Northern Rail service, leaving Sunderland station for Newcastle Central Station at 11.19am and arriving in Newcastle at 11.39am.
For the return journey there are two Metros running direct from Central Station to Sunderland at 3.45pm and 3.57pm.
There will also be one direct Northern Rail service leaving Newcastle at 3.38pm, passing through Heworth at 3.46pm and arriving in Sunderland at 4.01pm.
Officers will be based at the transport links to ensure people board the Metros and trains safely.
Roads temporarily closed on derby day between 1.30pm and 5pm will be - Barrack Road in both direction between its junctions with Gallowgate and New Mills; Strawberry Place between its junction with Barrack Road and St James Street; Pitt Street between its junctions with Barrack Road and Wellington Street and Barrack Road, south/eastbound between its junction with Holland Drive and New Mills.
Operations Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: “We want to welcome supporters from both teams and we hope they enjoy what is a great sporting event and a highlight in the footballing calendar for the region.
“We’re continuing to encourage Sunderland supporters to use the free coaches being provided by the club which will get them directly to and from St James’ Park swiftly and safely.
“For those planning to use public transport the Metro and train services on the day will be extremely busy and people should give themselves plenty of time for their journeys.
“We’re working with British Transport Police, Northern Rail and Metro staff to ensure the safety of Metro and rail passengers and will have officers at Central Station and in Sunderland throughout the day.
“The match is one which football supporters across the region look forward to and we’re well aware the vast majority of supporters are there to support their team and soak up the derby day atmosphere.”
Supporters can follow two Northumbria Police Twitter accounts – @NorthumbriaSAFC and @NorthumbriaNUFC – which provide fans of Sunderland and Newcastle with up-to-date information and safety advice for supporters.