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Mark Allen dreams of World Championship title glory

By Josh Richards

Mark Allen has admitted that he has allowed himself to dream of glory as he prepares to kick-off his World Snooker Championship challenge against Mitchell Mann this afternoon.

The Northern Irishman, who won the Players Championship last month, has a poor record at the Crucible in recent years with only two victories since 2012.

That has not stopped the 30-year-old, however, from imagining himself holding the most sought-after prize in the sport.

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"I have had thoughts about being in the final, being World champion. It's part of the preparation to think of all these things and what could happen, whether you can handle it," he said.

"Although I've not got a great record I've played some decent stuff, I've just come up against people who have happened to play better on the day.

"If I can concentrate on my game I feel like I have got a good chance. I know what section of the draw I'm in, but I don't look too much at it. You never know who will come through."

Allen could hardly have picked a more favourable first round opponent than Mann.

The Englishman, a promising footballer until a hip condition curtailed any hopes of a professional career, is the lowest-ranked entrant in the draw at No.74 - 67 places beneath Allen.

The duo begin their first-to-10 contest this afternoon, with the second session set for tomorrow morning.

Mann had to negotiate three gruelling qualifying matches to reach the Crucible for the first time, playing 55 of a possible 57 frames at Ponds Forge.

Recalling how he felt when he walked into the Crucible for the first time in 2007, Allen hopes he will have too much for Mann.

"Hopefully I can take advantage," said Allen. "I remember how nervous I was on my first time here. It's a big occasion.

"But some people perform first time, so I need to be on my guard and worry about my own game.

"Mitchell is a very good player and has come through three tough qualifying matches. But I feel I have the game to cope with him. Mitchell will be confident after winning three matches, but he could also be tired. The Crucible can do funny things.

"If he can handle the occasion it could be a good match and it's one I'm looking forward to."

The Pistol arrived in Sheffield last Wednesday and has been a frequent visitor to the practice table. Allen hopes that preparation could see him reach the final for the first time.

"I hope it helps," he added. "I'm comfortable. I feel good when I get out there and hopefully this will be no different."

Watch the World Championship LIVE on Eurosport, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

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