STUART Bingham is hoping that lightning strikes twice as he prepares to become a father again.

The last time Bingham’s wife Michelle gave birth was five weeks before his victory in the 2011 Australian Open.

Now Michelle is set to give birth again – five weeks after the final of the Betway UK Snooker Championship, which starts in York on Tuesday.

“We are expecting a little girl in about seven weeks,” he said.

“It will be my second and my wife’s third and everything is looking good.

“Funnily enough, I won in Australia five weeks before our son (Shae) was born. So, who knows, hopefully something similar is going to happen again!”

Bingham, officially ranked number two in the world, has yet to win a tournament since his sensational victory over Shaun Murphy in last year’s World Championship final.

However, the Essex-based player feels he is now back in the form that led to his Crucible triumph.

“Things changed off-the-table after I won the World Championship,” he reflected. “It was difficult because my own expectations and other people’s expectations changed. It took me a year to get used to the fact that, from being virtually nowhere, I had just won the biggest tournament ever. It knocked me for six.

“There were lots of distractions away from snooker and it took its toll but I got invited to things like ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ and ‘Question of Sport’ which were things that I had always wanted to do.

“I feel that I have put that to bed this year,” he added. “Things ‘clicked’ in Thailand (the Shanghai Masters in September) and I have just carried it on from there.

“I have started to play as good as when I won the World Championship again.”

Bingham, 40, reached the last four in Thailand, losing 6-5 to world number one Mark Selby. He has since reached the semifinals of both the English Open and the International Championship and defeated Neil Robertson in this month’s Champion of Champions before losing to Ding Junhui in the quarterfinals.

“I definitely feel like I have a chance of winning in York. I am in the form of my life,” he insisted. “I am happy with what I am doing, I am getting to finals and semi-finals – it’s just frustrating that I have not got my hands on another trophy yet! But I am getting pretty close and hopefully it will come in these next couple of weeks.

“I am not the sort of player who looks at the prize money. It’s the trophy that matters. I have been looking at that UK trophy for over 20 years and I want to get my hands on it.”

In addition to the impending arrival of their daughter, the Binghams, who live in Basildon, have also moved house this summer.

Significantly, the new pad has a snooker room at the bottom of the garden which could be another reason behind his return to form.

“It’s great,” he revealed. “I can now practice whenever I want. It’s like my ‘man-cave’ and my ‘trophy room’ and the table in there is the one on which I won the World Championship.”

Unfortunately for Bingham, having a snooker room in the garden comes with one drawback – you have to keep the garden path tidy – and, by his own admission, Bingham is far from green fingered.

His former home was even surrounded by artificial turf!

“I am not really into gardening and there are lots of bushes and trees that are going to need trimming,” he said. “But I might get around to that in a year or so. Just now, I have got a few more important issues to concentrate on!”

Bingham plays Poland’s Adam Stefanow in the first round next Thursday.