Police are advising Sunderland supporters to avoid an FA Cup travel clash with rival Newcastle United fans this weekend.
Both the Black Cats and the Magpies are heading south on Saturday.
The Wearsiders face Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in a third round tie at the Emirates Stadium, while Steve McClaren’s team face Watford at Vicarage Road.
Both games are set to kick-off at 3pm.
Officers from Northumbria Police are now advising all Black Cats fans travelling to the match either by coach or using their own transport to stop off at Woodall Services on the M1, which is near Sheffield, en route to the game should they need stop.
Fans are also being asked to use the same service station on the return journey home.
A statement from Northumbria Police posted on Sunderland AFC’s website read: “Northumbria Police are advising that all Sunderland supporters who are travelling from the North East to London for the Arsenal v Sunderland FA Cup third round tie on Saturday, January 9, using either coaches or private transport, that they should use the M1 Woodall Services, should they need to stop off en route to the game.
“This also applies to the return journey home.
“Supporters are advised not to use any other services unless it is an emergency.”
Sunderland go into the game on the back of a much-needed Premier League victory over bottom of the table Aston Villa, while the Magpies lost 1-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates last weekend.
Sunderland are 19th in the table, two points behind 18th-placed Newcastle.