NOTHING to lose, everthing to gain. That's how Daniel Wells sees his date with destiny with Ronnie O'Sullivan at the UK Championship, as he tells STEVE CARROLL

WHAT do you do when you face Ronnie O'Sullivan?

Meet any of the game's top players in a major championship first round and expect to spend a lot of time sitting in your seat. Meet the most naturally gifted player snooker has ever seen and don't expect to get out of it.

It's an almost impossible challenge.

But trying to make sure the Rocket doesn't fire at the York Barbican is Daniel Wells.

He meets the highest profile opponent he has ever played at an odd time in his career. After five years of toil and stress, the Welshman lost his tour card at Q-School earlier in the year and is having to ply his trade this season as an amateur.

It has been both a blow and a release for the 26-year-old.

Wells might still consider himself a professional but, without the pressure of playing for ranking points - "fighting for my life" as he puts it - the former world number 70 can approach the baize with freedom.

And, as far as Ronnie is concerned, that makes him dangerous.

"He is a difficult opponent - a special opponent - and I am really looking forward to it," said Wells of his first round clash with O'Sullivan, which will be played on Thursday afternoon (November 27).

"It is a brilliant draw. It is what you practice for. I would rather it was towards the end of the tournament but I want to go out and really enjoy it. I haven't had a great time over the past few seasons and a big win like this would kick-start my career.

"There couldn't be a better way to do it. Obviously, he is a genius. He is the best player, in my opinion, that has ever played the game. I am under no illusions about how difficult it will be.

"If I get my chance, and he is sat in his seat, there is not a lot he can do. It's about getting those chances.

"I have practised with him once but I have not played him in a big competition. I have played the likes of Stephen Hendry but this is the one I really wanted. A lot of people would pay a lot of money for a practice session with him and I am playing him in a big arena and at the second biggest tournament on the calendar.

"It's a great opportunity - one I will really enjoy and remember as long as I live. I am really excited about it."

And Wells has some experience to fall back on. After beating Alfie Burden 12 months ago in the opening round of the UK, he stepped into the main area for a second round match with Joe Perry.

Looking back at that game and on his situation this year, he added: "He played really well. I lost 6-3 but it could have gone either way. I had a chance to go 3-1 up and didn't quite take it. With the way the tour is now, I am used to playing in arenas and with the top players. This is a bit special though.

"It's been very difficult. I was lucky in one respect. I won quite a few matches at Q-School. I was very disappointed not to have won my tour card back and I don't feel like I am an amateur. They are players I am more than capable of beating.

"I won enough matches to get to a lot of events. It's not really that different but I can't get any ranking points.

"That makes this a bit easier. If I was on the tour, fighting for my life, I probably wouldn't want to play Ronnie. I would want to play an easier opponent. I am still playing for a living but I am not fighting for points.

"I can enjoy the experience. I have absolutely nothing to lose. That makes me dangerous. I can go there with no pressure on myself and still want to win. I will be bitterly disappointed if I lose. In the Champions event, Ronnie played some of the best snooker that's ever been played.

"But there is no pressure to win a frame. I am not bothered about the scoreline. Let's hope I can put up a good performance.

"I have got the opportunity to play Ronnie O'Sullivan and I am going to enjoy myself."