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Chizzy to play in front on 10,000 Glasgow crowd tonight
3:05pm Thursday 27th February 2014 in Sport
THE Betway Premier League Darts continues on Thursday with the fourth league night, as a record Glasgow crowd at the new SSE Hydro prepares to welcome the sport's top players - with the five games on the night including the all-Dutch affair between Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld.
A crowd of over 10,000 is set to welcome the ten stars as the battle to ensure places in the second stage of the tournament - following the relegation of the bottom two players following Week Nine - continues to intensify.
Reigning champion van Gerwen and Dutch rival van Barneveld, though, have their sights set higher in the table as they prepare to do battle in Glasgow.
Van Gerwen has won all three games to kick off the season in style, while he also tasted victory on the PDC ProTour for a second successive weekend in a UK Open Qualifier on Sunday.
"I'm really enjoying the Premier League so far this season and I've had a fantastic start so I'll go to Glasgow full of confidence, but I know that I have to play well," said van Gerwen.
"Barney is a great player, but his confidence is not up there yet and he needs to pick up more points to show he can make it to the Play-Offs, so maybe he's the one with something to prove against me.
"I'm playing well at the moment, but even if I have a little dip, I know I can dig in and win matches even if I'm not on top form."
Five-time World Champion van Barneveld enjoyed a 7-4 win over Simon Whitlock in Belfast last week, seeing him pick up his second victory of the season.
"I can't wait to play Michael," said van Barneveld. "He's enjoying a real purple patch and he's the best in the business right now but I'm not afraid of playing him.
"My form hasn't been great but in a league like this you just focus on trying to get the two points each week, and if I can turn it on in Glasgow, there's no reason why I can't beat Michael.
"I beat him in The Masters in Scotland last November and the Scottish fans always get behind me, so I'd love to give them lots to cheer about."
At the other end of the table, the Premier League's two players without a victory yet following three weeks - six-time champion Phil Taylor and 2012 finalist Simon whitlock - clash in a key fixture.
The night will also be a memorable one for the tournament's three Scottish players as they step onto the oche in Glasgow's newest arena venue, The SSE Hydro - with over 10,000 fans set to create the country's record attendance for a darts event.
West Lothian-born World Championship finalist Peter Wright is flying high in the league table, with last week's victory over Taylor maintaining his unbeaten start with two wins and a draw so far in his debut Premier League season.
He sits second only to van Gerwen in the league table, and opens up Thursday's games against another Stoke ace, Adrian Lewis.
"Ever since I was included in the Premier League in January I've been looking forward to playing in Glasgow and it's going to be an amazing night," said Wright.
"I've got to remember that I'm also there to do a job so I've got to focus on playing Adrian too. I want to improve my form and if I can do that then I've got a great chance."
Ayrshire's Robert Thornton kick-started his season with a brilliant performance as he hit eight 180s in a 7-2 win over Gary Anderson in Belfast last week, and he faces Wes Newton - who has picked up two wins from three games - in Glasgow.
"It's always special playing in Glasgow and it brought the best out of me last year when I played really well against Simon Whitlock," said Thornton.
"I felt last week that I found my rhythm well and I want to take that into the game with Wes now."
Anderson bounced back from that loss to win a UK Open Qualifier on Saturday, and takes on Dave Chisnall in Thursday's other game in Glasgow as the pair seek their second win of the season.
The Betway Premier League Darts will be shown live on Sky Sports 2HD from 7pm on Thursday night.
Only a small number of tickets for the event remain available, and can be purchased by calling 0844 395 4000 or online at www.thehydro.com Betway Premier League Darts Week Four February 27, The Hydro, Glasgow.
Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis, Robert Thornton v Wes Newton, Simon Whitlock v Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld, Dave Chisnall v Gary Anderson.
Tickets: 0844 395 4000 or www.thehydro.com