Daryl Gurney is determined to embark on an overdue run at the World Darts Championship as he bids to rescue a disappointing year.

The former World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals winner had won just two matches in televised knockout tournaments since March until he wrestled his way past William O’Connor in his Ally Pally opener on Wednesday.

The Northern Irish ace came to London as the 11th seed after a below par season saw him drop out of the top ten on the PDC Order of Merit, but Gurney believes the way he battled to win the deciding set against O’Connor could be the catalyst for his fortunes changing.   

“I felt like I hadn’t won for so long on TV that it might come back to bite me but I did still feel confident that I could win the game even though he had the throw in the final set.

“To be honest I’ve been playing badly all year and I’ve been losing. I haven’t been getting any good results at all, but I’ve honestly been practising as well as I ever have. Then I’ve gone up on the TV stage and been terrible by my own standards.

“I still believe in myself though. I’ve been hitting big scores for fun in practice leading up to this. I’ve had a couple of nine darters. I know what I need to do is stop overthinking about situations and focus on playing my darts. That’s what I did against Willie and I think I was a deserving winner.”

Much of the pre-tournament attention has been focused on the race for the world number one spot between Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price.

While Gurney insists that he doesn’t mind being overlooked by odds compilers and pundits, he warns that he should not be underestimated. 

“Nobody has really been talking about me as winner this year. I think the only way I could be in the top eight in the betting is to reach the quarter-finals but I don’t care about all that,” he added.

“I just try to do my best and if I play my A-game I’ll be very hard to beat.  I never consider myself a favourite. I don’t see myself as the best player in the world, but I can beat the best players in the world. That’s my mentality. I can beat anybody. I might not be as consistent as the likes of van Gerwen, Price and Wright but I can beat any of them in a one off game.”

Gurney will return to after Christmas bidding to get past the third round for just the second time in his career when he takes on Chris Dobey.