Snooker: Walker primed for McManus tussle

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In-form Joel Walker knows he can ill-afford to get dragged into long, tactical duels against veteran potter Alan McManus.

The Sheffield cueman, who recently reached the last eight of the Antwerp Open, faces McManus, aged 42, in the first round of the UK Championship tomorrow night. The tournament, which runs from runs from November 26 to December 8, features 128 players competing at the York Barbican Centre.

“Alan has a lot of experience so it is going to be tough,” Walker told The Star. “He is very steady. I think he has been as high as number four in the world. When I get chances against Alan, I’ve got to score heavy. That’s the key.

“I played Rory McLeod in Gloucester recently who is a very similar player. I think I made two centuries and a couple of other big breaks to beat Rory.

“Alan and Rory don’t give you a lot of chances. They rely on their safety and like to dictate the pace of the game.

“They like to slow it down and do what works for them. If I can ignore that and concentrate on my own game, I should be alright. The key is to not play into their hands.

“If I play to my strengths, I am feeling really confident about my chances.”