Humphries relishing emotional night in Leeds

Luke Humphries (PDC)

World Champion Luke Humphries will take inspiration from Leeds United as he makes his BetMGM Premier League debut in the city on Thursday night.

Leeds United fan Humphries will be one of eight stars taking to the stage at the First Direct Arena for Night 15 of the Premier League season.

Humphries' most recent visit to the city saw him parade the World Championship trophy at Elland Road in January during Leeds' win over Preston, where he received a huge reception.

The world number one returned to Elland Road ahead of Thursday's Premier League event, and revealed his delight at finally ending his wait to become the star attraction in West Yorkshire.

"It's felt like a long time coming - it's been 15 long weeks," said Humphries. "It was the one night on the calendar that I couldn't wait to play in.

"Leeds is a massive part of my life, I love coming to Elland Road to watch the team and it's an incredible city. To play here will be an amazing thing for me to do.

"It meant a lot [to take the World Championship trophy on the pitch]. I think it's up there with one of the greatest moments in my life.

"When I won the World Championship, I was thinking about it the next day and I couldn't wait to do it.

"The amazing reception I got from the fans was something I didn't expect to be honest and it's something that will stay with me for the rest of my life."

Humphries secured his place in the forthcoming Play-Offs after last week's visit to Aberdeen, and takes on Rob Cross in his opening tie on Thursday, as he targets a fourth nightly win of the 2024 Premier League season.

"There could have been a lot on the line and I thought the crowd might be the ones to get me into the Play-Offs, but I've qualified now which is great," Humphries added.

"I'm looking forward to it, I know I'm safe and I can go out there and play with some freedom.

"I want to get as many points as I can in the next two weeks but we're in a really hard sport, and as much as the pressure's not on me, I still want to go out and win.

"To win in Leeds would be right up there with my best darting achievements."

Humphries will wear a specially-designed shirt in Leeds' white, blue and yellow colours on Thursday as he takes to the stage in front of 11,000 fans at the First Direct Arena.

"My shirt supplier is a Leeds fan and I let him have a tinker around on something a bit retro, from the 1980s," he revealed.

"I didn't want to go too much into looking like a football shirt, I wanted to have a vibe of Leeds and be a darts shirt as well."

Humphries will be aiming to take glory in the Premier League's Play-Offs on May 23 at The O2 in London - and is then hoping he can cheer his football side to promotion in the Championship Play-Off final three days later at Wembley.

"I was hoping that only one of us were going to be in the Play-Offs but unfortunately both of us are," continued the World Champion.

"I'm hoping I can go on and win the Premier League and Leeds can go into the Premier League, but the Play-Offs are really tough - we've never got through them yet.

"If we can recapture the form of January-February time, I think we stand a good chance."

The 2024 BetMGM Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2024 BetMGM Premier League
Night 15 - First Direct Arena, Leeds
Thursday May 9

Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price
Luke Littler v Peter Wright
Luke Humphries v Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith

Van Gerwen/Price v Littler/Wright
Humphries/Cross v Aspinall/Smith

Van Gerwen/Price/Littler/Wright v Humphries/Cross/Aspinall/Smith