Snooker ace Gareth Allen believes he is on the verge of achieving his dream of turning professional after impressing at the Gdynia Open in Poland earlier this month.

Ewloe cueman Allen, 25, put in a series of impressive displays on his way to a last 32 appearance at the pro-am tournament before narrowly losing out 4-3 to Scotsman Marcus Campbell.

The tournament, which was eventually won by  Shaun Murphy, featured a number of recognisable names in the draw including the likes of Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Nigel Bond and Marco Fu.

Allen, who carries a blue and white cue case underlining his love for Chester FC, reckons he is ‘playing the best snooker of his career’ and is bullish about his chances of securing his elusive professional card at April’s EBSA Qualifying Tour Play-Offs in Sheffield.

“Before Christmas I wasn’t playing well at all so I decided to have a little break and, since  then, I have been playing some of the best snooker I’ve ever played,” said Allen, who will be one of 12 players at April’s competition vying for professional status.

“I think that I’m now in a position to challenge and turn professional. I’ve proved that with my performances recently and at other tournaments in the past.

“I beat a few of the lads who will be at the EBSA competition when I was in Poland so I’m confident of doing the same again.”

While in Poland, Allen made two centuries en route to the last 32 and declared himself ‘made up’ with his overall performance in Gdynia.

He began his campaign with a 4-1 second round triumph over Charlie Walters before notching up the same scoreline against Leeds teenager Oliver Lines, son of professional player Peter Lines.

Allen then put professionals Joel Walker and Andrew Norman to the sword before his narrow loss to the experienced Campbell, currently 27th in the world rankings.

“While I was pleased with my performance overall, I was disappointed to go out so narrowly,” said Allen.

“It was pleasing to have played so well against such an experience professional though.”

Allen, who will be looking to take one of three available professional spots at April’s tournament, attributes his recent upturn in form to the amount of practice he has been getting in with professional players.

He added: “I’ve been playing a lot with pro’s like Andrew Higginson, Dave Harrold and Robbie Williams which has really helped my game develop.

“As a snooker player you have to continually challenge and test yourself against quality opposition and that is what practising with these guys has given me the chance to do.

“I can’t wait to play in April but between now and then I’m just trying to play as many matches as I can and do as much practising as I can.

“Finding good form is one thing, making sure it’s consistent is the most important  thing. Snooker is a confidence sport and right now, I’m confident.”