Comeback on the cards for Rocket Ronnie

REIGNING world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is expected to outline plans for his long-term future this morning, sparking speculation he is set for a return to the table after a six-month absence.

The 37-year-old former world No1 has not played competitively since September and revealed his intention to miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season in November, citing personal reasons.

But, having missed the high-profile UK and Masters Championships, it would appear O’Sullivan, nicknamed The Rocket, is ready to end his snooker sabbatical and return in time to defend his world title.

The deadline for entry to this year’s tournament at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield is on Thursday.

O’Sullivan, whose world ranking sunk to 24th after the Welsh Open final earlier this month, will be exempt from qualifying, ordinarily mandatory for players outside of the top 16, as defending champion.

A keen runner for the Woodford Green Athletic Club with Essex Ladies, O’Sullivan has battled mental health problems throughout his career and has spent his time away from snooker volunteering at a farm in Epping Forest for three days each week.