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REIGNING champion Gary Anderson makes his return to the McCoy^s Premier League Darts on Thursday, and is looking to get back to winning ways as he faces Simon Whitlock at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham.

Anderson missed last week^s league night in Cardiff whilst attending his father^s funeral in Scotland, and is now two points behind the top four in the race for Play-Off places, albeit with a game in hand.

He plays Simon Whitlock in Nottingham, having lost to the Australian amongst a run of three straight defeats before his enforced absence, and is looking to revive his title defence on Thursday night.

"I^ve lost three in a row now and I know that I need to start winning again to make the top four," said Anderson. "I want to play well in Nottingham and hopefully the results will take care of themselves from there.

"I^m determined to play well because I was bitterly disappointed with how I played against Simon last month in Glasgow."

He added: "Although it was sad that I wasn^t able to play in Cardiff last week, I^d like to thank all my fellow players and darts fans for their support and goodwill messages at what^s been a hard time."

Whitlock is also looking to produce an improved display, having been whitewashed by James Wade in Cardiff.

"It was horrible," admitted Whitlock. "Nothing went right for me and I don^t ever want that to happen to me again. I^ve been practising hard and I want to put it right when I play Gary."

Unbeaten league leader Phil Taylor can effectively secure his Play-Off place when he faces Andy Hamilton in Nottingham, having moved seven points clear in the table last week with his defeat of Kevin Painter.

"I won^t be easing up against anybody," said Taylor, who has won seven successive matches since opening the season with a draw against Adrian Lewis, and defeated Hamilton 8-3 in Glasgow.

"It^s not my aim just to make the top four, I want the trophy back so that means I^ve got to get to the final and win it too.

"It will be tough against Andy because he played really well last week and showed a lot of bottle. He can beat anybody - he^s a scrapper, he^s like a cage fighter - and I^ve got to go up there and beat him up on Thursday!"

Hamilton^s win over World Champion Adrian Lewis in Cardiff last Thursday was followed only hours later by the death of his father in Stoke, and he admitted: "It^s been a very tough week but it would be a great tribute to my Dad if I can beat Phil.

"Last time I played him I went into the game a bit despondent because he was top of the league and I^d had a couple of losses before that and I just wanted to compete. I^m playing well again so it^s a different game this week.

"I^ve got nothing to lose. I^m playing well but I^ve not quite been focused enough and I need to tighten up a little bit.

"My scoring isn^t brilliant all the time but I can hit big scores at the right times and finish well, and that^s where you win games."

2009 Premier League champion James Wade moved second in the league table with his win over Whitlock last week, and he is also looking to complete a Premier League double against World Champion Lewis.

"Adrian^s a world class player and I^m looking forward to it," said Wade. "He^s very flamboyant and very interesting to watch and it^s good for the sport that we^re chasing each other.

"He^s a world class player who^s won two World Championship titles. I^m chasing him on that front and I respect him for that."

Lewis played twice in Anderson^s absence in Cardiff, bouncing back from his defeat to Hamilton with a high-quality win over Raymond van Barneveld.

"If I can get the win against James, it puts me in good stead to qualify for the Play-Offs," said Lewis.

"I^m looking forward to it and if I can get two points out of it - knowing I^ve got the week off in Sheffield - I^ll be very happy."

Van Barneveld meets Kevin Painter in the night^s other match, with the latter having suffered a third successive loss last week with an 8-2 reverse against Taylor.

"I^m feeling good," said Painter. "I felt a bit flat in Glasgow and Dublin - I think everything caught up with me a little bit - but playing Phil last week did me a favour.

"There wasn^t much anyone could have done against Phil last week when he was averaging 113, but if I can hit a few more doubles early on then it will set the platform for me.

"I^ve got my confidence back, felt better and got my energy back."

Over 5,000 tickets have been sold for the McCoy^s Premier League Darts at the Capital FM Arena, but a small number remain available by calling 08444 124 624 or visiting

McCoy^s Premier League Darts
Week Nine
April 5 - Capital FM Arena, Nottingham

Kevin Painter v Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis v James Wade
Andy Hamilton v Phil Taylor
Simon Whitlock v Gary Anderson
Tickets: 08444 124 624 or

Week Nine Match Odds, courtesy of
Kevin Painter v Raymond van Barneveld
15/8 Kevin Painter
9/2 Draw
8/11 Raymond van Barneveld

Adrian Lewis v James Wade
13/10 Adrian Lewis
9/2 Draw
11/10 James Wade

Andy Hamilton v Phil Taylor
8/1 Andy Hamilton
15/2 Draw
1/7 Phil Taylor

Simon Whitlock v Gary Anderson
6/5 Simon Whitlock
9/2 Draw
6/5 Gary Anderson
William Hill are the official betting partner of the McCoy^s Premier League Darts

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