TOWN fans are being advised to "come early" for next Tuesday's big derby clash with Sheffield Wednesday at the Galpharm (7.45pm).

An extensive police operation is planned for an expected crowd of 15,000-plus, including a sell-out Owls contingent of 4,054 backing Paul Sturrock's promotion chasing side.

It means key areas of the stadium will be fully booked, so Town supporters are advised to buy tickets well in advance and also to arrive early on the night, when additional car parking problems will be created by the Easter Fair on Holset's car park in St Andrew's Road.

Fans will undergo searches and ticket checks outside the ground before the game - with police promising a firm clampdown to avoid potential trouble - and any Town fans arrested and convicted will be banned from future matches.

Club secretary Ann Hough explained: "We are expecting a crowd of 15,000 to 17,000 and it will be a very busy evening.

"Our advice to Town fans is to come down early and buy your tickets, because some sections (like the Singing Section in the John Smith's) are almost certain to sell out.

"We also strongly advise people to arrive early next Tuesday, not only because they can enter the ground and take their seats from 6.30, but because of the extra pressure on car parking due to the Easter Fair."

There will be no public availability in the St Andrew's car park but, for those fans arriving early, there is pre-match entertainment from opera singer Lawrence Robinson.

Town have employed extra stewards for the match and there will be a biggest police presence of the season.

Drunken fans, those trying to access the wrong areas, anyone throwing objects, using abusive language or anyone entering the pitch area will be dealt with.

The Match Commander, Chief Inspector Martin Sykes, has already advised Sheffield Wednesday fans without tickets not to travel over for the game.

"We want everyone to come and enjoy what is a big match, but it would help everyone if fans came early to assist the match operation," he said.

"Those people who normally park along St Andrew's Road should be aware of the Easter Fair and come early to find alternative parking.

"As usual, we will have `spotters' from the South Yorkshire force on duty to pick out any potential troublemakers and we will have a high-visibility police presence all around the stadium.

"Anyone caught committing offences can rest assured that positive police action will be taken against them.

"We are working closely with the club on this and anyone convicted will also be served with a banning order."

Fans can buy tickets as normal through this week, with the office open from 9am to 4pm on Good Friday and 9am to noon on Saturday before being closed on Easter Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

It will be open from 9am to kick-off on the day of the game and closed the following day.

Do ...

* Buy tickets early.

* Be prepared to arrive early at the stadium.

* Be aware of car parking problems along St Andrew's Road.

Don't ...

* Delay in buying a ticket.

* Arrive late because of the big crowd.

* Arrive drunk, because police will deny access.

* Try to access the wrong area of the ground.

* Throw objects or abuse once inside or try to invade the pitch area.