A ‘SUBSTANTIAL’ police operation will be in place for Blackburn Rovers’ FA Cup tie against Manchester City tomorrow.

Just under 7,500 away fans are expected to descend on Ewood Park for the 12.45pm kick-off.

Pubs have been asked not to serve alcohol before 10am and officers will be patrolling the streets and the areas around the stadium.

There will be no ticket sales on the day.

Chief Inspector Julian Platt from Lancashire Police said he wanted to reassure residents that the game would pass safely.

He said: “Due to the number of fans expected to attend, there will be a substantial policing oper-ation in place tomorrow to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy the match safely.

“We are working with both clubs to ensure that happens and we would ask people to arrive in good time as traffic is likely to be busy in the area.”

When Rovers last hosted Burnley, around 4,000 tickets were made available to away fans. Publicans in Darwen are braced for an influx of Mancunians, many of whom are expected to get off trains in the town and pub crawl their way to Ewood.

Martin Haynes, assistant manager at The Bridgewater in Church Street, said: “We are expecting a lot of football fans from early on and we are prepared for that.

“We will have security on the door from the morning and they will be there right through until nighttime.”

Craig Henrys, landlord at the Postal Order in Darwen Street, Black-burn, said he would be taking extra safety precautions.

He said: “I am expecting quite a lot of people because they have sold quite a few tickets.

“It is a weird one because it is a 12.45pm kick-off, so I do not think it will be as busy as the Leeds United game which was pretty hectic.

“But I do think it will be a busy day and we will have all the staff on and I will be using plastic glasses to be on the safe side.”