JOHN HIGGINS might have to fork out a slice of his winners’ cheque to practice partner Marcus Campbell if he scoops a fourth Coral UK Championship.

The former World Champion will play Matthew Stevens in the last 32 after getting past Jamie Cope 6-4 on Saturday afternoon.

Higgins confessed the match was “scrappy from the word go” but he revealed Campbell passed on a technical tip when the pair were working on the tables before their respective clashes at York Barbican.

And he said the advice, which concerned how far back he was taking his cue, paid immediate dividends as he got past a difficult opponent in tough conditions.

“The table was playing very difficultly,” Higgins said. “The cushions were uncontrollable. It was really bad. That can make you start missing easy balls because you are not really sure how the cushions are going to react.”

Higgins began with breaks of 80 and 97 but found it difficult to shake off Cope, who struck a fine 103 in the third frame.

But Higgins closed out the match with a composed 69 clearance and believes he has Campbell to thank for that poise.

He continued: “I was practising the last couple of days with Marcus Campbell and he noticed something in my game. It wasn’t really Marcus - it was Graeme Dott who noticed what I was doing wrong - but Graeme never told me.

“I don’t know if he doesn’t like me or not but he didn’t tell me. He’s doing a lot of coaching now and him and Marcus were talking about it.

“He just gave me a little pointer. As soon as he said it, I knew exactly what he was meaning. It started off well but, after that, I was missing easy balls but it is something to work on.

“Any little thing might help but that clearance (in the final frame) would be thanks to Marcus. I probably wouldn’t have done it if he hadn’t given me that pointer with some of the shots.

“I was just bringing the cue back too far. I have got a long backswing anyway. When you say too far, it is just little things.

“When it was said to me, I knew I was losing control of it and I wasn’t timing it correctly. I felt my timing was a lot better in certain things (today).

“It is fine margins.”

On his match up with Stevens next week, Higgins said: “I have played Matthew in the final before many years ago. I am just delighted to win this game but Matthew is another player who just needs a couple of wins and it can kick-start him and he can go and do well again.”

Stevens, meanwhile, fought back from 2-0 down to beat Gerard Greene 6-3 and the 2003 UK Champion said: “I was very pleased with the way I played. I played very solidly. It is the best I have played for some time.

“It was tough. Every match is difficult these days and every win is a good win.”

Stevens played in the sports hall and admitted he found it hard to focus. “I was on the first table and every was coming in and out, so that was handy," he explained.

“You have to get up after a few shots but it is the practice table now. I will be pleased to be back in the main arena in the next match.”