PETER MANLEY looks ahead to the William Hill World Darts Championship and predicts who will lift the Sid Waddell Trophy at Alexandra Palace.
We caught up with three-time World Championship finalist Manley to find out who he thinks will follow in his footsteps in London this week.
Q: Peter, firstly how do you look back on your years competing in the PDC World Championship?
Peter: It is always the most exciting time of the year, every player dreams of becoming a World Champion and only a few make it a reality. I had three chances but came up against the greatest and most successful player every time, Phil Taylor. He always managed to find another gear that nowadays is the norm. The PDC have taken this tournament and made it one of the finest spectacles in the sporting calendar.
Q: Which games are you most looking forward to out of the first and second round ties?
Peter: I'm most looking forward to a potential match on the opening night, with the possibility of World Champion ROB CROSS taking on Dutch young gun JEFFREY DE ZWAAN. Rob has seen a dip in form and Jeffrey is on the prowl so we could potentially see a massive upset.
I’m also looking forward to seeing the ladies back on the world stage, with both LISA ASHTON and ANASTASIA DOBROMYSLOVA set to prove themselves as quality players who are well capable of victory in their opening round matches.
Another potential second round game I will look forward to watching would be between in-form pair JAMES WADE and KRZYSZTOF RATAJSKI if the Polish number one can make it through his opener.
Q: Who should we look out for as a potential dark horse?
Peter: To find a dark horse for this year, you would have to look at the bottom half of the draw, for me it would be either MICHAEL SMITH or MENSUR SULJOVIC. A player who needs to find some form on the main stage is IAN WHITE, while exciting youngster DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH gave a good account of himself last year and I would expect him to do the same this time around.
Q: And, most importantly, who will lift The Sid Waddell Trophy?
Peter: World number one MICHAEL VAN GERWEN has probably got the hardest draw and it will be a test of his capabilities throughout every round, but I see GARY ANDERSON winning his quarter and he will meet Michael in the semis. I think Gary will claim his third world title.