METAL barriers will be used by police to keep rival fans apart at the Wear-Tees derby.
Sunderland and Middlesbrough supporters will be separated by the cordon before and after Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round clash at the Stadium of Light.
Northumbria Police have used the 8ft high barriers twice before to maintain order between Sunderland and Newcastle fans and have decided to put them in place for the Black Cats’ match against Boro.
Police chiefs said the safety of fans is the main priority.
Hundreds of officers will be on duty to deal with any eruptions of disorder.
There has already been anger over the allocation of tickets to Boro fans.
Visiting supporters had expected to get about 7,200 tickets in the Stadium of Light’s South Stand, but have been given just 3,000, which sold out within hours leaving many disappointed.
Sunderland’s Safety Advisory Group cited problems with Boro fans persistently standing during their last two visits to the Wearside ground as the reason for the ticket reduction.