08 Aug 2008
The Stoke Potter's been busy with a new addition to the Harold clan, but he's now looking forward to the coming season.
How would you sum up last season?
Steady, but it didn't really live up to my expectations. I got off to a good start by reaching the quarter-finals in Shanghai, and I won most of my first round games. But it finished on a low note for me when I lost in the first round at the Crucible to Shaun Murphy - I didn't put up enough fight in that match.
What was the highpoint?
Probably that quarter-final in Shanghai. I had good wins over Steve Davis and Peter Ebdon, then I lost to Dominic Dale but he went on to win the tournament so that's some consolation.
And the low point?
The match against Murphy at Sheffield, or losing 5-1 to Fergal O'Brien in the Northern Ireland Trophy, that was another very disappointing performance.
What's your target for next season?
I start 23rd in the provisional rankings so I want to get into the top 16, and I think I've got every chance. I've got a new cue which has given me some extra confidence.
There seem to be a lot of players using new cues.
Yes, Ricky Walden's got one, so has Tom Ford and a few others, maybe it's the 'in thing'. I'd had mine for 14 years and the joint had gone so I had to get a new one. It's made by Tony Wilshaw who is very good.
Will you do anything else differently next season?
I'll just try to be more consistent, and concentrate throughout every match. Maybe I need to be a bit more attacking as that's the way the game is going, getting in first and making 70 or 80 more often.
Do you feel that you are now back to where you were before you broke your wrist four years ago?
In terms of my ranking, more or less. I was No 21 provisionally then and I'm No 23 now so that's only a couple of places. I still don't feel that my standard is as good as it was before that happened, although last season, in patches, I played better than I have for a long time.
What have you been up to this summer?
My third child, a daughter called Nellie, was born in the middle of May, so that's been enough to keep me busy! I've not had any holidays abroad although I have been playing in a few tournaments here and there to keep my eye in.