POLICE will step up security ahead of Albion’s clash with Crystal Palace tonight after last season’s fixture saw violent clashes between rival fans.

Extra officers will be deployed around the Amex stadium, in the city centre and in nearby towns, police have said.

The fiercely-contested derby kicks off at 7.45pm – and police are keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s trouble – which saw six people arrested.

When the two teams met at the Amex in November 2017, Sussex Police claimed that Crystal Palace fans had attempted to enter the ground armed with “knives and knuckledusters”.

But, they were later forced to admit that these claims were not true and apologised to both clubs and their supporters.

Sussex Police said at the time: “The reference to weapons being found discarded at the stadium following the Brighton vs Crystal Palace match on November 28 was based on information logged by our officers on the night and done so in good faith.

“Subsequently, it has been established that no such items were physically recovered at the stadium or in the city.

“We accept that this information was incorrect and the tweet published earlier today, December 7, by one of our officers was wrong.

“Sussex Police apologises to both clubs and their supporters.”

For this season's fixture police have taken extra precautionary measures to prevent any fan violence.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said: "There will be an increased police presence around the ground, in the city and in neighbouring towns.

"Security within the ground remains the responsibility of the club, supported by us.

"As with all matches, Sussex Police has been working with partners, including the Albion, British Transport Police and other emergency services colleagues and we are looking forward to a safe and enjoyable match for everyone attending."

There is also expected to be travel disruption this evening.

Southern Rail said: “Services from Brighton and Lewes through Falmer will be busier than usual, with a queuing system in place.”

Extra traffic on the A27 in Falmer Hill and The Drove is also predicted.