INJURED VAN GERWEN TO MISS EXETER
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN will miss the Betway Premier League night at Exeter's Westpoint Arena on Thursday with a back injury, with Dave Chisnall set to compete twice in the absence of the world number one.
Reigning Premier League champion Van Gerwen will miss out on Night Five of the Premier League season due to the injury, having been scheduled to meet James Wade in Exeter.
The Dutchman will give himself every possible chance of playing at the Coral UK Open this weekend, and will take medical advice before making a decision on Thursday evening whether he will be able to compete in Minehead.
In Van Gerwen's absence, Dave Chisnall will now compete twice in Exeter, playing his scheduled match against Raymond van Barneveld before returning to take on Wade in the night's final game.
Van Gerwen would then compete twice on Night Eight in Manchester, with his rearranged clash with Wade to precede his scheduled meeting with Van Barneveld.
So the rescheduled fifth league day will look like this:
Dave Chisnall v Raymond van Barneveld
Jelle Klaasen v Kim Huybrechts
Gary Anderson v Phil Taylor
Adrian Lewis v Peter Wright
James Wade v Dave Chisnall
DAVE CHISNALL is aiming to give his Betway Premier League season a boost when he doubles up in the absence of Michael van Gerwen in Exeter on Thursday, as great rivals Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor meet at the Westpoint Arena.
Reigning Premier League champion Van Gerwen has been sidelined with a back injury from Night Five of the season, meaning that he misses out on his clash with James Wade.
The 2009 champion will now meet Chisnall as the world number six plays twice in Exeter, returning to the stage in the final game after opening proceedings against Raymond van Barneveld.
Chisnall is one of three players sat on two points at the foot of the Premier League table following the opening four weeks, and knows that his unexpected double in Exeter is a chance to boost his hopes of avoiding elimination.
"It's a shame that Michael's injured but I've got to try and make the most of it on Thursday," said Chisnall.
"I've got to see it like one of the nights later in the season when you would play twice anyway, and hopefully I can pick up points in both games. If I have a good night it could be massive for my season."
Van Barneveld has picked up four points over the opening month of the season, including a draw against Peter Wright in Brighton last week, and the 2014 champion is wary of Chisnall's ability ahead of the clash.
"Dave hasn't been at his best yet but this is a new match and you have to play your A-game every week," said Van Barneveld. "You need the points so if I can get a draw or a win it's fantastic."
The fifth league night of the 2017 season sees the stars return to the south-west for the start of one of the calendar's busiest weekends, with Thursday's event followed by the Coral UK Open from Friday to Sunday.
While 56-year-old Taylor will miss the UK Open as he continues to scale down his playing commitments ahead of retirement, Scottish star Anderson is aiming for a victory to further boost his confidence.
The two-time World Champion, who is based in Somerset, had drawn with James Wade in Brighton las Thursday and has won just one of his opening four matches.
However, after claiming his first ranking title of the year with a Players Championship triumph on Sunday, Anderson is eagerly awaiting the meeting with Taylor.
"It's always special playing against Phil, and for me it always will be," said Anderson. "You've got to score well and hit your finishes if you get a shot. My doubles have been great for the last couple of years but have been off the boil a bit recently - but they've got to come right against Phil or I'll be in trouble."
Taylor is one of three unbeaten players following the opening four weeks, but is aiming to improve his form after drawing with Kim Huybrechts a week ago.
"I'm aiming to qualify for the Play-Offs and every game is a chance to get points for that," said Taylor. "It's a great fixture against Gary and it will be a good game. Gary's a brilliant player, a two-time World Champion and he's a cracker. I've got to step it up because I wasn't quite on song last week."
Peter Wright, who sits in fourth place after the opening four weeks, comes up against two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis - who is aiming to follow up his draw with Van Gerwen and a nine-darter on Sunday with a second win of the season.
"My confidence is low because I'm not winning games, but a good run of form will turn that around within the next couple of months," said Lewis.
"I'm playing really well on the floor so I've got to take that onto stage and I'm not really doing that, which is frustrating but hopefully in the next few weeks I'll put it right."
A huge clash at the other end of the table sees two players tied on two points, Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts, come head-to-head, with the Dutchman in confident mood after picking up his first win of the season last week.
"I just want to get some points and try to win every match, but it's difficult to play a friend so it's going to be a tough game," said Klaasen, who met Wright, Anderson and Van Gerwen in the opening three weeks.
"It is a big game but I don't think about it that much because I've already played the top three in the world and Kim still has to play all of them. If he wins and goes above me, he still has some tough opponents."