THE prospect of a partisan crowd rooting for the hometown hero will cause Kyren Wilson no sleepless nights as he prepares for his Betway UK Championship challenge.

After all, when you've repelled the collective will of a billion souls what is there to fear?

Wilson defeated China's superstar Ding Junhui on his home soil on his way to the Shanghai Masters title in September and must end another local favourite's tournament ambitions when he plays Pickering's Paul Davison in the UK first round at the York Barbican on November 26.

"It doesn’t really matter to me," he said when asked how it felt to have a room of people hoping you lose. "I played Ding in Shanghai. That was ridiculously one-sided so I am used to it. We are both there to try and win the match and you have just got to get on with the job."

Wilson has never been past the second round of the UK, the game's second biggest tournament, but he comes into the two-week snooker marathon this time harbouring genuine title ambitions.

Picking up his first ranking title in Asia, after beating Judd Trump 10-9 in a classic final, certainly didn't hurt but Wilson has surged up the rankings over the last 18 months - peaking at 22 - and backed up his great form with a run to the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions in Coventry last week.

His performances on the baize have fired his self-belief and the 23-year-old, tagged for a couple of years as the game's next big thing, is revelling in the moment.

Wilson added: "It’s a great feeling mixing it with the best in the world. It is a result of what I was doing already - putting the work in - and I feel like I have been reaping the rewards.

"I have got to make the most of these wins. I've said before that it means nothing - people bigging you up and saying you are going to win - until you do it for yourself.

"You have to prove it to yourself and now I have started to do that, win tournaments and beat the best in the world. It gives me a lot of confidence and a lot of self belief."

Joe Perry, Michael Holt and Mark Allen were also dispatched on the way to the Shanghai crown but what pleased Wilson most, and augured well for the future, was his nerve when the final came down to a last frame shoot-out.

"It was the way I won and the last break I made. I think I showed a lot of bottle in the final frame (with a break of 75) and it feels priceless. Judd Trump is a fantastic player.

"He has been one of the big headline names coming through and he is still quite young, even though it feels like he has been around forever. He is a very tough player to play and I enjoy playing him. He plays a game I like and I like to watch him. I enjoy the occasion."

He continued: "Winning was mixed emotions. It was all my hard work coming together and you finally get the rewards for it. You are going to suffer a lot of losses along the way and a lot of hard defeats. It was also the week of my dad’s 50th birthday so it was a bit of a fairytale week.

"That win will live long in the memory."

A good run in Coventry, which saw him again beat Trump and fend off Zhou Yuelong before falling to Allen in the last four, only reinforced his positive vibes and also gave him precious UK TV time in a one table set-up.

For as Wilson confesses, despite his surge up the ladder, he continues to learn his trade.

"I was only 40 minutes down the road from Coventry," he explained. "I had a lot of family and friends there and it is a fantastic set-up. It’s one table and everyone had earned their right to be there. There was a really prestigious feel to it and I felt I belonged there.

"It was nice to be in the UK in a big televised competition and playing in front of big audiences. I am learning all the time. I am only 23-years-old. I am still quite new to it and I am trying to treat every moment and tournament like it is another snooker match.

"You get a bit excited with the big ones - especially the Crucible - but you have to treat it as another match. It’s another set of balls on the table to deal with."

Those balls didn't run his way at York 12 months ago when he led defending champion Neil Robertson 5-4 in the second round before going out in heartbreaking fashion in the final frame.

But it is a venue he is looking forward to returning to and an opponent, in Davison, he knows plenty about.

"I was 5-4 up and playing a green," he remembered of his game with Roberston. "I potted the green into the middle and just ran out of position. Neil is a fantastic player and showed what he can do. It was a bit sickening but I felt I learned a lot from that match.

"It’s a fantastic set up in York and it is great to have a big tournament like that in the UK and for it to be on a big TV channel. York has got a lovely Christmas feel to the place at this time of year with it being close to December and it is a lovely place to go to.

"The venue is fantastic. The crowds always turn out and I am really looking forward to going there. I've played Paul Davison a bit as an amateur but not too much as a pro. He has been around for a very long time and knows the game inside out. Every match on tour is tough and I am not going to treat it any differently."

As a 66-1 outsider to lift the trophy on December 6, Wilson's red-hot potting form is bound to make him a popular each way pick and bettors who plump for the Kettering player can be assured of one thing at York - he will be going all out to lift the trophy.

"I try to win as much as I can," he exclaimed. "I want to be one of the most successful players that has played snooker - otherwise what is the point of playing? To do that, you need to win as many tournaments as you can. Every tournament, I am aiming to win and York won’t be any different."