Portsmouth supporter's group does not think absence of police 'bubble' for Southampton clash is a mistake

Riot police line the ground during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Portsmouth and Southampton at Fratton Park on March 21, 2004 in Portsmouth, England.   (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Riot police line the ground during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Portsmouth and Southampton at Fratton Park on March 21, 2004 in Portsmouth, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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A POMPEY supporters group does not think the absence of a police 'bubble' for the Saints clash is a mistake. 

The rivals are set to clash at Fratton Park later this month in the third round of the Carabao Cup – but officers have ruled out an operation that saw Southampton fans bussed in on dedicated coaches to Portsmouth and then taken back again.

The bitter rivals will meet on Tuesday, September 24 for the first time since April 2012 – and the first time at night under floodlights since 1976.

Police are remaining tight-lipped on the exact strategy they will deploy – with the authority mysteriously just saying there will be a ‘wide range of different tactics’. 

A meeting between Pompey and Saints fans with police will take place on Saturday where further details are likely to be aired.

Simon Colebrook, chairman of Pompey Trust, said: ‘The bubble does minimise the risk but the last time they used it, it was a Sunday game and led to Rodney Road being closed off which caused significant disruption.

‘I don’t necessarily think it is a mistake not having the bubble although it is hard for me to say until I’ve heard what the police are planning. The police have been very welcoming. I look forward to meeting with them to hear their plans and having our input.’

Asked if he thought there would be violence at the game, Mr Colebrook replied: ‘I hope there is no trouble and that it is just a passionate game where people go to support their teams.’