ANDERSON DOUBLES UP AS TOP TWO CLASH IN BETWAY PREMIER LEAGUE'S GLASGOW SELL-OUT
GARY ANDERSON faces a key night in his defence of the Betway Premier League title as he doubles up in Glasgow on Thursday, as top two Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor clash in the biggest game of the season so far at The SSE Hydro.
The tournament's second visit to Scotland will see a 10,000-strong crowd at The SSE Hydro treated to two appearances from reigning Premier League and World Champion Anderson, who had missed the season's opening night in Leeds through illness.
He will kick off Thursday's action by playing his rescheduled match against Adrian Lewis in a repeat of January's World Championship final, before taking on his Scottish World Cup team-mate Peter Wright later in the evening.
Having won his last three matches, Anderson has pulled away from the battle to avoid elimination at the foot of the table, and is hoping to further boost his Play-Off chances with his Glasgow double-header.
"If I can get two wins out of the two games, I'll be more than happy," said the world number two. "Even with one win out of the two I'd still be over the moon, but I've got to get a win. I'm going to go for it against Adie, and I'm definitely going to go for it against Peter because they're two classy players. I'll enjoy it and give it 110 percent and hopefully get a couple of points out of it."
Anderson's night will also see him receive two walk-ons in front of his home crowd, and he added: "Last year I think Glasgow was my first time playing after winning the World Championship for the first time, and I've never heard a noise like it. This year the first one was up in Aberdeen and it was the same again. It puts a lot more pressure on you because you want to win in front of your home crowd and play well, but I'm really looking forward to it."
Lewis' contest with Anderson is also a repeat of their meeting in the 2011 Premier League final, although the Stoke star is intent on avenging his most recent big-stage loss to the Scot.
"We've been joking with each other that it's one apiece now in World Championship finals but I probably owe him one!" joked Lewis. "We've been giving each other loads of stick but we're great mates. He's a top player and a top bloke and I've got a lot of respect for him, but hopefully I can go up there and enjoy it and take the two points on Thursday. I'm really looking forward to it. We should have played each other in Leeds but he wasn't very well at all and I'm looking forward to it - hopefully I can get another two points on the board."
The night also features the huge contest between the Premier League's current top two players, Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor - who have both won five straight matches since losing on the opening night in Leeds.
Van Gerwen has averaged over 106 in each of those five victories, including his world record televised average of 123.40 in Aberdeen, and he is excited about his clash with the legendary 16-time World Champion.
"I think I'm the best darts player at the moment, but Phil is the greatest player who's ever lived and he's still a fantastic player," said van Gerwen.
"I know I'm the number one in the world and people will say the pressure's on me, but the pressure is on him - or he will put the pressure on himself because I know Phil Taylor. I don't have a point to prove, I think Phil has a point to prove because I've beaten him the last few times on television. He's the greatest who ever lived in darts. Myself and Phil is probably the best game and I hope we can both play really well. Phil is the greatest player who ever lived but I think I'm playing the best darts that have ever been thrown and I'm showing some fantastic performances."
Van Gerwen has won six successive televised games against Taylor since August 2014, although Taylor missed match darts in their Masters semi-final in January and also led in both November's Grand Slam final and the recent UK Open semi-final.
"I can't wait, I'm really looking forward to it and he's in for a game," said Taylor. "I'm close to Michael, getting closer and closer, and I'm not going to keep missing doubles. I missed doubles in a few games and he hasn't. I've got to be more ruthless. I'll keep pushing him and I think probably I'm one of only two or three players who can give him a good game so he's in for a treat. What do I think about Michael's averages? Unbelievable. His ability is fantastic, but everybody's ability is good - it's his concentration and his aggression that's getting him through, and he doesn't think he's going to miss a double. I think once I get him, he's in for a massive battle."
At the lower end of the league table, 2014 champion Raymond van Barneveld takes on Dave Chisnall in a key game as the pair seek to avoid getting drawn into the battle to avoid elimination, with Michael Smith sitting out the Glasgow event and bottom-placed Robert Thornton up against James Wade.
Wade, the 2009 Premier League champion, has moved clear of the elimination places with wins in the past fortnight, and he said: "I think I've produced solid games so far. They're not flamboyant but they're very solid games, very concrete and I'm hard to beat when I'm like that. All I've got to do is get my finishing together - my finishing's not quite as good as it should be and if I can get that improved then I'm hard to beat. I'm positive but it's going to be a hard game against Robert."