Preston’s Ian Burns believes that home comforts and a new coach will be the key to his success as he struts his stuff in China at the International Championship snooker this week.
World No.105 Burns has had a disappointing year so far on the baize, but was celebrating off it after marrying long-term girlfriend Alison as the season began.
He has since teamed up with former World No.16 Ian McCulloch, who after finishing his career in 2012 took the 29-year-old under his experienced wing.
And there is still no place like home for Burns as he travels ten minutes up the road every day to practise at his parents’ house.
The Preston star began his campaign in China on Sunday and edged past Dominic Dale 6-5 and he continued his good form with a 6-3 victory over Craig Steadman in round two earlier today.
“I’ve been working very closely with Ian and his having his experience is invaluable, especially in events like the Welsh Open when you don’t have to qualify and could be straight on the TV in the first round,” said Burns, who lives in Much Hoole.
“When we go to venues he’s been to a million times he knows where to go and all the people there which is quite comforting, so it’s been great to have someone like him on board.
“Going home is a nice practice environment for me, it’s perfect as nobody bothers me and we have air-conditioning in the summer and heaters in the winter.
“I think my mum enjoys me going home every day as well, so it helps me to feel at ease practising there. I’ve practised at snooker clubs before, and it feels a lot more like going to work. At home you have a bit more freedom to do what you want and practice any time you want which is certainly a bonus.”
Burns qualified for the International Open last month with a 6-2 victory over Jack Lisowski and is relishing his first appearance in the Chengdu flagship event.
He added: “My game is good, I think I’m playing well enough to go far but it just seems that the people I’ve been coming up against are really good players, like Mark Selby and Michael White.
“So it’s been tough but I’m not worried. That was a good win over Jack to qualify and then against Dominic in the first round, so playing solid there gives me some confidence
“I need to focus on taking my own chances and work on break-building so when I do get that chance I don’t pass up the opportunity.
“I still have a few goals I’ve not reached yet. I don’t think I’ve ever won a game on TV at one of the main events so that’s one of my main targets.
“China is one of the biggest tournaments of the year for me, and I was absolutely gutted to miss out last year having been 4-1 up in a qualifier.”