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'Underdog' not barking mad as McManus chases semi-final spot

Alan McManus has been rolling back the years on his way into the quarter-finals of the Dafabet World Championship.

Alan McManus is trying to reach a Crucible semi-final for the first time in 21 years
Alan McManus is trying to reach a Crucible semi-final for the first time in 21 years

He remains quietly confident that he will be able to roll over Mark Selby when the pair meet for their last-eight tie tomorrow morning.

At 43, it had been anticipated that McManus' time at the Crucible would be short-lived and that he would be left to reflect on the good-old days after giving this year's tournament a good old try. Instead, the former world No.6 has added to those memories; the Scot dumping compatriot, friend and four-time world champion John Higgins out in the first round. He also defeated Ken Doherty - one year McManus' senior - on Saturday.

That set up a meeting with Selby and has presented McManus with an opportunity to reach his first semi-final at the Crucible in 21 years. He has never competed in the final.

"I'll be a massive underdog in that game, but I'm still beating the top players so I fancy my chances," said McManus. "When I get on a TV table I feel more comfortable, I've always been that way. I try to be pretty relaxed about what I've achieved so far, I think it's helped my game.

"But there's a lot of guys who never get a chance to play a Crucible quarter-final, so I'm going to make the most of this opportunity. When I get my chances I'm really going to have to take them because Mark will punish me.

"He's so used to the big stage and is one of the premier players in the game, so I know I'm going to have to raise my game. I'm going to have to be more consistent and cut out the silly mistakes which crop up. But I do like playing the big names. I always have done."

McManus' progress in snooker's premier event has so far earned him £25,000, with a guaranteed £55,000 windfall to come his way should he reach the final four. The Scot's biggest pay day to date came in the 1994 Masters when victory brought him £115,000. "The the older you get the more you just want to enjoy these occasions and to make sure you are not too anxious," he said.

"But I'm really looking forward to it. It's a big occasion for me. That's part of the enjoyment of playing.

"It's a three-session match, so I'll play three little matches and see where it takes me. I'll need to spend a bit of time on the practice table to iron a few things out and to also get my discipline sorted out before the match."

McManus has sported a pair of tartan trousers in each of his matches in South Yorkshire and is not going to change that habit for his best-of-25 frame match with world No.3 Selby. "I'm probably should get a different pair, but they've been lucky for me," said McManus with a smile.

"It's a bit of fun. Hopefully me wearing these pants adds a little bit of fun to this tournament."

It will all seem much more serious for Judd Trump, the 2011 runner-up returning to action tonight needing to win three frames to secure place in the quarter-finals. He is playing Ryan Day in a second-round match poised at 10-6 after the second session, with breaks of 64 and 73 enough for Tump to maintain a four-frame cushion.

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