Snooker: Higgins poised for 'anxious' return to tournament circuit

World number four John Higgins is set to return from his six-month ban today to compete in the Euro Players Tour Championship in Hamm, Germany.

The three-time world champion will face Joe Jogia in the first round. Higgins, 35, was cleared of match-fixing in September but fined £75,000 after admitting breaching rules over betting after an investigation into allegations of frame-throwing made by the News of the World.

The Scot's suspension began when the allegations surfaced in May, but now he is poised to play for the first time since the World Championship, where he suffered a shock defeat by Steve Davis in the second round.

It was in the following week that the fateful meeting involving Higgins, his manager Pat Mooney and undercover reporters took place in a hotel room in Kiev. The allegations were then published on the first day of the World Championship final.

Higgins admits he is anxious as to what kind of reception he will receive from other players in Germany, describing the prospect as "like going to the dentist" and acknowledging the stigma may always live with him.

Davis believes it will take time for Higgins to be accepted by his rivals, although world champion Neil Robertson has said he will be welcoming Higgins back.

Higgins will return to action in Great Britain when he competes at the UK Championship from 4 to 12 December.

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