World Snooker Championship: 'If I play well I've got a real chance' - Allen

Mark Allen
Mark Allen will make his 13th appearance at the World Championship in Sheffield
Betfred World Snooker Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 20 April-6 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, Red Button, iPlayer, Connected TV, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen is confident as he bids for a maiden World Championship title at the Crucible.

The world number six, who starts against China's Zhou Yuelong on Tuesday, won three tournaments last year including the Masters.

"I know how hard it is but if I don't have a chance come May Day weekend I will be disappointed," he said.

"If I play well I've got a real chance of winning it and if I didn't believe that I wouldn't be here."

The 33-year-old from Antrim followed up his first Triple Crown success at the Masters by winning the International Championship and Scottish Open late in 2018.

Allen reached the semi-finals at the Crucible in 2009 and has also made three quarter-final appearances.

"I feel that even through the bad times this season it's been positive," he added.

"I've been getting to the latter stages without playing my best and when I'm at my best I'm winning tournaments.

Zhou Yuelong
Zhou Yuelong reached the semi-finals of the European Masters in 2017

"That shows where my game is at and I expect the same here in Sheffield."

Allen expects a "very, very tough" first-round encounter against 21-year-old Yuelong, who has a world ranking of 35th.

"Yuelong is a player I rate very highly - of the crop of young Chinese players I think he's the best," he said.

"He has the most all-round game but I have to try and use my experience and go out there and play well."