UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE stars Michael Van Gerwen and Simon Whitlock have both highlighted Thursday’s fixtures in Nottingham as potentially crucial showdowns.
Van Gerwen is determined to dominate the tournament, having reached the top of the table by beating Whitlock last week.
Third-placed Whitlock is aiming to return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats at the hands of the league’s top two.
World number one Van Gerwen, who has finished first in the league phase for five consecutive seasons, takes on Gerwyn Price on Thursday.
He said: “I’m very proud of my record in the Premier League.
“It is very important to me to finish top of the table. That is always my first target. I don’t think about surviving or making the top four, I only look at finishing first.
“It has taken me a few weeks to get there through a combination of a slow start from myself and a very good start from Michael Smith and others but now I’m there I want to stay there.
“I have a great record against Gerwyn but it means nothing on the night. I have to be prepared for him and I will make sure I am ready to earn another two points.”
Whitlock, who won his first three matches, faces Daryl Gurney in a repeat of October’s World Grand Prix final.
He said: “I’m looking forward to the game against Daryl because I think it is an important one for me.
“I’ve experienced most positions in this tournament and I know he will be feeling the pressure being in the relegation zone.
“I need to take advantage of that and get back to playing like I did at the start of the season. I have to take my chances. I didn’t last week but I have been putting the work in to make sure I do tonight.”