Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright will look to follow up last week’s impressive win over Gary Anderson when he takes on Raymond van Barneveld on matchday four of the Betway Premier League in Brighton this evening.
The 7-5 victory at Anderson’s expense lifted Wright up to fourth in the standings, two places above his upcoming Dutch opponent.
“I’ll have to play another ton-plus average against Raymond because he’s playing some fantastic darts and has done for the last six or seven months, so it should be a great game,” said Mendham’s Wright.
“Raymond’s been absolutely brilliant, he’s so steady and consistent and he doesn’t let anything get to him any more. He’s a very dangerous man.
“He’s well above me, he’s won lots of titles and is an awesome player.
“I wish I’d won what he’s won, but I’m progressing and climbing the ladder, and if I don’t win anything I’m still going to be there biting their ankles.”
Wright has lost just one of the previous seven meetings between the two players.
Elsewhere at The Brighton Centre, reigning champion Michael van Gerwen is expecting Adrian Lewis to “turn it on” when they clash.
World number one Van Gerwen is one of three unbeaten players at the top of the Premier League table following the opening three weeks of the 2017 season, with Phil Taylor and James Wade also picking up five points so far.
The Dutchman meets two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis in Brighton, with the Stoke ace having only picked up one win so far this season.
“We always have good games but he’s not really in form,” said Van Gerwen.
“I think he can do a little bit more with his talent because I think he is one of the best players, and I need to try to take advantage of his situation.
“He’s not in the best form of his life, but you never know with him. You need to make sure you concentrate and play your game.
“He can turn it on, that’s why you need to make sure you’re prepared for the good Adrian Lewis when he is good it is tough to beat him.”
Van Gerwen has defeated Wright and Jelle Klaasen since drawing with Gary Anderson on the opening night, and the Dutchman believes that he can improve his own form on the south coast.
“I’m top of the table so I can’t complain, I haven’t played my best yet but there’s more to come,” he added.
“I feel great and I want to keep carrying on, and as long as you win your games that’s the most important thing.”
The visit to Brighton sees Taylor come up against Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts, who has picked up just one point from the opening three weeks.
“I’ve had a good start to the season and I want to keep it going,” said Taylor. “Kim’s a feisty player and he’s going to do his jumping around, but I’ve noticed that every time he jumps about, he gets beaten.”
Wade meets two-time Premier League champion Anderson in another tasty match-up in Brighton, with the left-hander aiming to improve his performances despite being unbeaten so far this year.
“If I play well I’ll win, if I don’t I won’t,” said Wade.
“I didn’t have things quite right last week and I wasn’t as concentrated as I should have been, but everyone has bad days at the office.
“I’ve been a bit lazy and taken players for granted when they’re not at their best but I’m looking forward to this week. I want to get out of the traps a bit faster.”
The night’s other tie in sees Dave Chisnall come up against winless Klaasen, as the 2015 semi-finalist seeks to follow up last week’s defeat of Huybrechts with another key victory.
“I got the two points last week and Jelle will want to do the same this week,” said Chisnall.
“I’ve got to stop him and bring my A-game because he is playing quite well.
“I’m confident of winning every game and I felt good last week and my form showed.
“Last year I won my first game but I only got three points from nine games, and this year I’m hoping to do better.”
Betway Premier League
Night Four - Thursday February 23
The Brighton Centre
Dave Chisnall v Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson v James Wade
Phil Taylor v Kim Huybrechts
Raymond van Barneveld v Peter Wright