Wade returns to the seaside town having reached the final of the prestigious tournament five times in seven visits, including 2007 when he won his first major title.
Now a seven-time major winner, ‘The Machine’ begins his quest for further Matchplay success against John Part in round one.
“I know what John can do and he knows what I can do,” said Wade, the world number four.
“If we both do it then it should be a great game on Saturday and that is the only one I am thinking about right now.
“I have done well here so far and I think that is because I feel very comfortable. The venue is fantastic and so are the crowd. It is my favourite tournament.”
Whitlock takes on Dutchman Jelle Klaasen on Saturday night in round one.
The Australian reached the final of the European Championships in Germany a fortnight ago and is determined to take his good form to Blackpool.
“I have been playing very well recently,” said ‘The Wizard’, a former World Matchplay semi-finalist.
“It will be a tough game on Saturday but if I can play like I have been in the last few weeks then I’m confident of coming through it.”
van Barneveld takes on Austrian Mensur Suljovic.
Mark Webster is in action on the first of two sessions on Sunday, when he meets Justin Pipe in the afternoon.
Monday evening sees the conclusion of the first round matches as Robert Thornton faces Ian White.
By Chris Murphy