JAK JONES is relishing an all Welsh affair in the first round of the UK Championship and had a message for two-time ranking event winner and opponent Ryan Day – bring it on.

The Cwmbran potter fell to a 4-1 defeat against world No.30 Liang Wenbo in the second round of the Northern Ireland Open but is back in Sheffield gearing up for this week’s Triple Crown tournament.

Jones, the world No.91, swapped South Wales for the Steel City earlier this year to practice at 14-time major winner Ding Junhui’s revolutionary snooker academy in the city.

He’s been hitting the baize hard since that defeat against Liang and reckons he has what it takes to topple Day, who won the 2017 Riga Masters and the 2018 Gibraltar Open, at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena.

“It’s a big game against Ryan,” said the 27-year-old.

“He’s a really good player so it’s going to be really tough.

“At the moment I’m just trying to not put too much pressure on myself. I don’t expect results too fast and I just feel like I’m going in the right direction now.”

Jones beat Chinese player Pang Junxu in his first round match at the Northern Ireland Open but was unable to battle past 2016 English Open champion Liang.

The Welshman struck breaks of 79 and 65 but three half-centuries from the Chinese, rounded off with a fluent 121 in the fifth, dashed Jones’ hopes of progression at the Marshall Arena.

Jones embarked on a memorable run to a maiden ranking event quarter-final at last month’s English Open and has hailed his move to Sheffield as a watershed in his snooker career.

Riding solo in Cwmbran has been replaced by regular sessions at the table with the likes of Lu Ning, Tian Pengfei, Noppon Saengkham and Eden Sharav.

Jones remains the only British player to have made the transition to Sheffield – and is urging his compatriots to follow suit and emulate his rapid progress on the baize.

“It’s comfortable living at home, especially if they’ve got families and it’s a lot harder,” he added.

“For me, I just thought I had to do it. I know what I’m potentially capable of but I wasn’t allowing myself to do it, just because of the way I was practicing.

“I was practicing really hard at home but I was playing on my own all the time. I just thought I have to move to Sheffield to progress and to go to the next step.

“It’s all still going well and it’s nice to be get back in practice for a few days leading up to the UK with different players.”

The Northern Ireland Open was live on Eurosport, Eurosport app, and discovery+