A BRADFORD snooker player will finally fulfill a lifelong dream when he makes his first appearance at the sport's most prestigious arena.

Laisterdyke's Wayne Cooper has replaced Tony Drago, who was advised by a doctor to stay in Malta, in this year's ROKiT World Seniors Championships, held at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.

Cooper is a renowned name on the West Yorkshire snooker scene and is a record 10-time Bradford champion.

He even appeared on the much-shortened professional tour in the 1999/00 and 2007/08 seasons.

The 11th edition of the 16-man tournament, which starts on Wednesday, will feature the likes of Stephen Hendry, Bradford's Joe Johnson and Jimmy White.

White, who still plays on the pro tour, is the defending champion so will certainly be the player to beat.

As for Cooper, he will began his journey against Gary Filtness on Thursday in the best of seven frames first round.

The Bradfordian can't wait to get going, and hopes he might be playing in front of a crowd.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, the 42-year-old said: "I was scheduled to go for a test on Tuesday and if anyone tested positive, I was first reserve to come in.

"I am gutted for Tony, but grateful that I get an opportunity to walk out at the Crucible.

"I have only been there as a spectator before. As a snooker player it is a great feeling.

"They are letting 300 fans in today for the World Championship final sessions to trial it. So, they might let them in for the seniors which would be nice.

"It is any snooker players dream to walk out at the Crucible. It has been a dream of my since I was a little lad when I first starting playing.

He added: "I enjoy the seniors tour because it is good seeing all the lads again and competing.

"You get more time to settle in (in a best of seven), than you do in a best of three or five.

"If you lose the first frame, it is not too disheartening because you still have time to come back. I think it is more in my favour, especially against Gary.

"On my day, I am capable of beating anyone."