Power looking up
Phil Taylor is looking up as he faces Gary Anderson in Exeter on Thursday after finally getting off the mark in the Betway Premier League Darts, while Peter Wright heads to the Westcountry as the only unbeaten player left in the tournament.
16-time world champion Taylor has suffered his worst ever start to a Premier League season by losing his opening three matches, but broke that run with a fine performance to defeat basement rival Simon Whitlock 7-3 in Glasgow last week.
The six-time Premier League champion faces in-form Gary Anderson in the fifth week of the season in Exeter on Thursday, knowing that another win would further boost his challenge and further lift his confidence.
"It's a massive weekend ahead and it would be a brilliant way to start it with a win in Exeter," said Taylor. "My form's picking up and now I know that everything I'm doing in practice is right.
"You do everything to try to improve, and now I know it's working after last week so I want to take that into the game with Gary. We often bring the best out of each other and it's been great to see him getting back to his best recently."
2011 Premier League champion Anderson produced another superb display as he picked up his second victory of the season a week ago, hitting a 170 finish and averaging 108 against Dave Chisnall, and is looking forward to another clash with Taylor.
"I enjoy playing Phil and I never expect anything less than him at his best," said the Scot. "He knows what he's going to get from me too and we've had some cracking games over the years.
"I seem to keep coming up against players in great form - Barney and Robert didn't miss a thing against me recently and that may be the case against Phil too after last week, but I'm looking forward to it."
World Championship finalist Peter Wright is the Premier League's only unbeaten player following his emphatic 7-1 win over Adrian Lewis in Glasgow a week ago, and he faces fellow Scot Robert Thornton in the Exeter opener.
"At the start of the season my target was to finish in the top eight and avoid relegation, but now my target is to be in that top four and play in the play-offs at The O2 in May," said Wright.
"Hopefully I can keep on doing what I'm doing and keep this going. I believe in my game and my mental state at the moment and I think I can go on and win a major title this year."
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld meets Dave Chisnall in the night's second contest, as he bids to consolidate his top-four place after continuing a bright start to the season with superb win over Michael van Gerwen last week.
"Last week was great for my confidence," admitted van Barneveld. "Not many people are beating Michael at the moment so I was very proud of that, and I want to continue that form against Dave this week."
Van Gerwen and Lewis are both looking to bounce back from their disappointing results in Glasgow when they clash in Exeter, with the Dutchman having won their last three meetings, including a 6-0 sets victory in the World Championship semi-finals.
The night's other game sees Simon Whitlock, who has lost all four of his games so far, bidding to celebrate Monday's 45th birthday with a maiden win of the campaign as he takes on Wes Newton, who sits fourth after last week's draw with Thornton.