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Mark Allen hopes Crucible Theatre can spark upturn in form in Betfred World Championship

Mark Allen hopes that the iconic Crucible Theatre can spark an upturn in form as he prepares for his Betfred World Championships first round match against Jimmy Robertson, starting on Saturday night at 7.00pm.

The Antrim potter hasn't got past the fourth round in any of his past seven ranking tournaments dating back to his Northern Ireland Open quarter-final in November.

The Pistol accepts he's not in the greatest of form but is hoping for a change in fortune in Sheffield where he's been knocked out in the second round in each of the last three years.

He said: "It's a bit strange for me, normally I come in with a bit of form and I'm looking forward to it but apprehensive is probably the best word for it this year because I've been playing pretty poorly.

"I've played some good matches here over the years, it's a venue I really enjoy coming to, even the years I haven't done well, and I’ve still loved every minute of being out there.

"It's the pinnacle of our sport. It’s the best arena we play in by a country mile, if that can't bring some motivation or inspiration then nothing else will.

"The last couple of weeks in practice have been a little bit better so let's see what happens."

Allen's first round opponent Robertson has already demonstrated his fine form having won three qualifying matches just to reach the first round in Sheffield.

And while Allen won't be underestimating his opponent, the 31-year-old has his eyes firmly fixed on a single goal heading into the tournament.

"I want to win, I've come here to win the tournament, I don't want to be one of the journeymen," he added.

"I understand there are lots of good players here and they're all here for the same reason but anything less than a tournament win will be disappointing.

"Jimmy is a great player, a great scorer who is very aggressive but I think that’s something that may suit my game.

"If I play my best I fancy my chances but if I don’t Jimmy is going to punish me because he's in a rich vein of form himself."

Watch the Snooker World Championship Live on Eurosport, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds

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