Thanks XXX for your interest. You need to first pass the threshold of our PhD admission committee and this has recently become very challenging. Once passed, I can then take a look and see if there is funding (and also see the files of other applicants, i.e., your competitions) to decide on whether I can sponsor you or not. If you decided to apply, please remind me in early March to check your file. In general, your background is consistent with my projects requirements, so feel free to include my name as one of your faculty contacts in your application (if you want).