Betway Premier League Aberdeen Preview
SCOTTISH rivals Peter Wright and Robert Thornton will clash as the Betway Premier League visits Aberdeen's GE Oil & Gas Arena on Thursday, as reigning champion Gary Anderson continues his bid for a first win of the season.
Wright travels to his homeland sitting two points clear at the top of the Premier League table after winning his opening three matches - leaving him as the only player with a perfect record so far.
Wright is aiming to maintain his unbeaten record in Aberdeen, and is in confident mood of continuing his impressive start to the season.
"It's going to be another amazing crowd and I don't want to let Scotland down - I want to stay at the top of the table," said Wright.
"We've got that little carrot dangling this year of the £25,000 bonus for the player who finishes top, and that's making me want to beat everyone, every week!"
Thornton, meanwhile, has yet to record a victory after losing out to Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld - although he ran the Dutchman close last week on his return from a chest infection.
"It's a big match for me and I'll be giving it everything to get a result," said Thornton. "People will say it's top-versus-bottom but that means nothing when you're up there because we can all beat each other on our day.
"That's been seen in some of the results so far this season and I know that if I play my best darts then I can come away with the win this week, although Peter's in great form and he's had a good start to the year."
Reigning Premier League champion Anderson is also aiming for his first victory of the season as he returns to Scotland, having lost out to Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen in his previous two matches.
"I knew how tough the Premier League was going to be this year and so far I've not picked up the points but I'll be giving it my best this week," said the World Champion.
"I need to start getting some points under my belt because you don't want to be eliminated and the pressure will start to build in the next few weeks."
World number one Michael van Gerwen - one of five players to have won two matches so far - comes up against Premier League newcomer Michael Smith, who picked up his first point of the season last week.
"I think I'm doing well but I ned to make sure that I take the two points against Michael," said van Gerwen. "He's a fantastic player but he's struggling a bit on this stage and I need to take advantage of that.
"He's a talented player but he needs to have the same attitude as me. This is a big learning curve for him but you need to learn the hard way - I did that and if you don't you'll never learn what it's like with the big boys."
Smith had lost three times in the opening two weeks before claiming a draw against Dave Chisnall in Dublin, and he is aiming to continue his progression after getting off the mark.
"I can relax now that I've finally got a point on board and now I'm aiming to get the two points," said the former World Youth Champion. "I'll be a massive underdog against Michael and I've got nothing to lose.
"I've played him loads of times and I've beaten him before, and he's battered me too! If I'm up there enjoying myself, anything can happen and my darts will go in. I want to have fun, hit big scores and checkouts.
"I'm learning every day, even when I'm practising, and I'm trying to be more consistent on TV."
Six-time Premier League champion Taylor comes up against Chisnall, and the Stoke legend is targeting a third successive victory after hitting form in the past two weeks.
"I've got the right darts now to suit me, and I'm pushing forward," said Taylor.
"I'm consistent, I'm keeping them nice and level and hitting the 180s and 140s. I've been missing a couple of doubles and that's going to come right over the next couple of weeks."
The night's other clash in Aberdeen will see 2009 Premier League champion Wade taking on two-time World Champion Lewis, with both looking to bounce back from suffering defeats in Dublin.
The Betway Premier League's visit to the GE Oil & Gas Arena is a 4,000 sell-out and will be screened live on Sky Sports from 7pm.
Betway Premier League
Night Four - February 25
GE Oil & Gas Arena, Aberdeen
Adrian Lewis v James Wade
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
Phil Taylor v Dave Chisnall
Peter Wright v Robert Thornton
Best of 12 legs - first to seven or six-all draw
Betway Match Odds
5/6 Adrian Lewis 7/2 Draw 9/4 James Wade
5/6 Gary Anderson 7/2 Draw 9/4 Raymond van Barneveld
2/7 Michael van Gerwen 11/2 Draw 6/1 Michael Smith
8/11 Phil Taylor 7/2 Draw 5/2 Dave Chisnall
8/15 Peter Wright 4/1 Draw 7/2 Robert Thornton
Odds correct at 1pm Tuesday February 23 and courtesy of www.betway.com. Odds subject to fluctuation.