Michael van Gerwen is hoping to extend his lead at the top of the McCoy’s Premier League with another double-header in Dublin, where James Wade, Robert Thornton, Raymond van Barneveld and Simon Whitlock will bid to boost their play-off chances.
van Gerwen, who took four points from two matches in Sheffield last week, faces van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis on the eleventh night of action in what is proving to be a fabulous debut season for the young Dutchman.
Victories over Wade and World Champion Phil Taylor pulled ‘Mighty Mike’ two points clear of the chasing pack at the top of the table and the reigning World Grand Prix champion has his eyes set on increasing that advantage in front of 10,000 fans at the O2 Arena.
He told the PDC’s official website: “I’m top of the table now and I want to keep my place there.
“I’m really happy with how I’m playing and I’m very confident at the moment.
“Last week was a difficult night for me but I walked away with four points against Phil Taylor and James Wade, and it would be great to do it again in Dublin.
“I like to play Raymond, and I think it’s a game that everyone else likes to see at the moment too because we’ve had some great matches in the Grand Slam final and at the Premier League earlier this year.
“I’m looking forward to playing Adrian too because he beat me earlier this season, so it would be nice to win this time. It’s two big games for me in a great venue and I’m going to enjoy it.”
Second-placed Wade goes head to head with Thornton, who is currently occupying the final play-off spot.
van Barneveld faces the tough task of taking on van Gerwen and Taylor in the same evening, while Whitlock is hoping victory against Andy Hamilton can put him firmly in the race for May’s finals night.
“It’s another huge game against somebody above me in the table,” said the Australian, who won a UK Open qualifying tournament at the weekend.
“Andy is a tremendous player and really tough to beat because he is so gritty.
“I’ve got eight points at the moment and am probably going to need at least 15 or 16 to make the top four.
“There’s a lot of work to do but there’s still six games left for me to play and a lot can happen in that time.”
By Chris Murphy
Images courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC