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“I believe I’m the best player in the world if I turn up. If I don’t believe it, no one else will.”

MICHAEL SMITH isn’t scared of the red-hot Winter Gardens stage because he’s used to getting burnt feeding his animals outside.

 

The World Championship runner-up takes on wacky Dirk van Duijvenbode in the World Matchplay second round in Blackpool on tonight.

 

Smith, 31, reckons he can cope with the searing heat under the TV lights after getting sunburn at his farmhouse!

 

He revealed: “I’m used to the heat being outside feeding the animals at my farmhouse. I burnt my neck the other day cleaning out the chicken coops.

 

“I was outside and had the brightest white line on my neck because I had my chain on. I looked like a hillbilly!

 

“It’s been hectic on the farm so I’ve been outside a lot. The geese have just had six babies. I’ve also got new ducks which have had six babies as well.

 

“Last week my turkey started hatching so I’ve now got my Christmas dinner sorted. There were nine eggs underneath her and they’ve started hatching.

 

 

“Thing is with the Winter Gardens, where the drinks table is on the stage there’s a pipe that shoots out freezing cold air.

“So you’ll see me going to the table and cooling down and drying off my hands from sweating.”

 

Smith needed an epic comeback to beat Andrew Gilding in his opening encounter but he still has faith in his own ability.

 

He added: “Every tournament I come into I say to myself I can win it. I’ve fallen short maybe once or twice!

 

“I believe I’m the best player in the world if I turn up. If I don’t believe it, no one else will.

“If I’m a target, I’m not bothered. It’s if I play badly that’s when I get upset with myself.

 

“There’s three main tournaments you want to win; Worlds, Matchplay and Premier League. I’ll take any of them. But this one is close to home for me and would mean so much. ”

 

By Phil Lanning

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