Police to increase security at Cardiff tie

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The Independent Online

Police will carry out their biggest-ever operation for a Tranmere match in an attempt to prevent violence at the FA Cup fourth-round visit of Cardiff City today.

Police will carry out their biggest-ever operation for a Tranmere match in an attempt to prevent violence at the FA Cup fourth-round visit of Cardiff City today.

Earlier this month, riot police armed with batons were drafted in after Cardiff fans invaded the pitch at Ninian Park following the Welsh club's 2-1 win over Leeds. Cardiff's owner, Sam Hammam, criticised for walking around the edge of the pitch in front of Leeds fans towards the end of the game, has since been ordered to stay in the stands. An investigation was launched by the Football Associations of Wales and England which resulted in Cardiff being charged with misconduct.

"It will be the largest police presence ever at a Tranmere Rovers match," a Merseyside police spokeswoman confirmed yesterday. "The safety of supporters and the local community is our priority. We have taken the issues raised at the last fixture that Cardiff played very seriously, and our view is that both sets of supporters and local people should be reassured that steps have been taken for any eventuality."

Extra security measures have been taken at Prenton Park. The first six rows of seats have been removed to ensure fans are further away from the pitch, while extra stewards have been drafted in.

Alan Shearer has again stated that he will not reconsider his decision to end his international career. The England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, said on Thursday that he had not ruled out a recall for the 31-year-old striker, who retired from international football after Euro 2000.

But the former national captain said that despite his good form for Newcastle he would not be seeking a place in England's World Cup squad.

"Nothing has changed," he said. "I gave my reasons two years ago and it was to allow me to prolong my club career. Now I'm benefiting from not playing international football. The games and training are not so much of a burden.

"I haven't been approached by England, but I'm speaking out to stop it all. As far as I'm aware, Sven hasn't said anything and I certainly haven't, but it has to stop. The media have brought it up because things have gone reasonably well for me this season, and I think it's right to speak up.

"I miss running out at Wembley for the big games," he added. "It wasn't an easy decision, but one I thought about long and hard. I don't miss spending all my time away. I don't miss the pressure of the games."

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