Mark Allen is in confident form as he prepares to take the next step in his quest to win snooker’s World Championship.
The Antrim player begins his second round match against England’s Kyren Wilson at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, on Sunday morning.
There have already been a number of seeded players eliminated in the opening round of the competition but Allen insists: “I don’t look at it to much, to be honest.
“The section of the draw that I’m in there are still quite a few seeds remaining - most of them have been knocked out in the opposite half of the draw.
“It wouldn’t really affect me until the final but it’s too far off to start worrying about that.
“It’s going to be very tough - Kyren has already won a ranking tournament at a young age and he’s flying up the rankings.
“He’ll probably push up into the top ten next season with having no points to defend.
“People might look at it thinking I’m playing a qualifier but really, Kyren is a top 16 player in waiting because of the current ranking system.
“It’s a very tough match but one that I’m more than capable of winning.
“He will have more pressure on him after winning in Shanghai but he will still be second favourite in pretty much every match he plays here. He will put pressure on himself to do well but it’s up to me to go out and stop him.
“We’re both attacking players, we go for our shots and we score well so it will be a good game for the neutral - my safety will have to be very good and if I can put him under pressure with my scoring, I think I’ve got a good chance.
“This year I think I’m handling things better than I ever have out there.
“Inevitably things are going to go wrong - in a best of 25 match you can’t play well the whole time.
“I think I’m in a really good place mentally, I think my game is in good shape - now we just have to see what happens on the day,” added Allen.
* Mark’s match begins at 10am on Sunday and continues on Sunday evening, before concluding on Monday afternoon.