There will be a heavy police presence in the town on Saturday as tensions are anticipated to run high when Swindon Town take on rivals Bristol Rovers at the County Ground.

Wiltshire Police have warned that they will take a “proactive and robust” approach with football hooligans who engage in violence or offensive behaviour this weekend.

They have confirmed there will be extra resources designated for the West Country derby game as more away fans are expected to travel to the town. Public order officers, horses from Thames Valley Police and dog handlers will be out to mitigate any disorders.

Kick-off has been moved forward two hour to 1pm to reduce the chance of alcohol-related disturbances breaking out.

And away fans have two designated pubs they can attend - The Great Western Hotel and Cheekies.

Supt Phil Staynings said: “Moving the game forward will close down two hours of people drinking before.

"We want to make sure the event is delivered in a safe and enjoyable way which is the rationale behind designating public houses. We will look to escort larger groups of away fans to the stand safely.

Swindon Advertiser:

"We appreciate it’s a local derby and passions are running high but we will be taking a very robust stance with individuals who are minded to ruin the day for everyone else.

“A small number of people use these types of events to cause trouble. There’s no place for violence and we will not tolerate it.

“The vast majority will come, watch the game, cheer on their team and go home but there are a few individuals who ruin it for everyone else by seeking confrontation so we’re working closely with the football club on these types of issues.

“People will see more police officers in public order attire given it’s a local derby.

“We will continue to have a policing presence in the town centre into the afternoon and evening to reassure people.

“We made 15 arrests following the Swindon versus Bradford game in October and we will take a similar stance if required with people wanting to engage in that type of behaviour.”

Shrivenham Road will be closed to vehicles from the Magic Roundabout. from 10am to 3.30am for crowd safety reasons

Police and Swindon Town Football Club have warned that Covid checks will still be taking place on entry to the ground in line with Plan B protocols so fans have been told to arrive in plenty of time to avoid extra queues. Turnstiles open at 11am.

People are encouraged to leave bags at home to speed up the entry process and there will be no facility to do a lateral flow test at the stadium.