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REIGNING champion Gary Anderson will hope that home comforts can kick-start his McCoy^s Premier League Darts campaign when he faces Andy Hamilton at the AECC in Aberdeen on Thursday night.

The Scottish star, who won the prestigious trophy in his debut Premier League Darts season in 2011, made a disappointing start to the defence of his title when he lost 8-6 to Kevin Painter in Manchester last Thursday.

He takes on another Premier League newcomer, Andy Hamilton, in Aberdeen on Thursday, and is hoping to get back to winning ways in Scotland in front of a sell-out crowd.

"Last week was really disappointing for me," said Anderson. "I wanted to make a good start to the season and didn^t do that, but Thursday^s a new game.

"I^ve not been happy with my form recently but I^m improving and hopefully Andy will bring the best out of me."

Hamilton took a 10-6 win over Anderson in their last televised meeting, at the World Matchplay last summer, when the Stoke ace kick-started his career in a run to the semi-finals.

He made a winning Premier League Darts debut last week by defeating James Wade 8-5 in Manchester, and admitted: "It was a great start and I want to build on that now.

"I loved every minute of it in Manchester and I^m looking forward to playing Gary. He^ll be determined to bounce back from last week but I^ll do my best and hopefully get another win."

Painter joined Hamilton in taking a debut victory in Manchester with his triumph over Anderson, and he is looking to repeat that success when he faces five-time Premier League winner Phil Taylor in Aberdeen.

Painter and Taylor have enjoyed some famous clashes during the past decade, notably their classic World Championship final in 2004 which saw the Stoke legend come from 4-1 down to claim victory in a sudden-death leg.

"Phil^s got a great record against me," said Painter. "I think I beat him the second time I ever played him [at the 2001 World Grand Prix] and I haven^t beaten him for ten years since!

"We^ve had some great games and he always, always plays well against me. He tells me that it^s out of respect and he knows that if he doesn^t play well I^ll beat him.

"I^m looking forward to two games against him and maybe the Premier League will see the record change."

Taylor hit the second-highest average in Premier League history last Thursday of 112.79 as he came back from 5-0 down to draw with Adrian Lewis in a thrilling opener.

"Last week was a great match, but I can get a lot better," warned Taylor, who had partnered Lewis to World Cup glory for England a week earlier.

"I^m feeling good and obviously doing the right things because of my performances. Kevin got a good result too last week and he knows that we^re both playing well, so it should be a great game on Thursday.

"It^s not a sprint, it^s a marathon but I want to finish top of the league and I^m taking every game very seriously."

World Champion Lewis takes on five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, who hit a nine-dart finish at the AECC two years ago when he faced Terry Jenkins.

The Dutchman drew with Simon Whitlock in another high-quality clash last Thursday, and said: "I was very happy with the draw last week, and I^m enjoying my darts at the moment.

"I^m practising well and my head is right, and I^m looking forward to returning to Aberdeen. It^s got great memories for me from when I hit the nine-darter there, and it will be a top quality match against Adrian."

The night^s other game sees Australian ace Whitlock - who has returned from a broken ankle in superb form - meet 2009 champion Wade.

Since being runner-up in the World Cup final against England and sharing the points with van Barneveld a week ago, Whitlock also reached two semi-finals in the Speedy Hire UK Open Qualifiers held last weekend to continue his strong start to 2012.

"I^m really happy with my darts at the moment," said Whitlock. "They^re going in the right places and I^m getting some good results.

"I^m fresh and I^m keener than ever since injuring my ankle. It^s going to be a very close McCoy^s Premier League this year and the standard is fantastic, and I know it will be tough against James on Thursday."

Tickets for Thursday^s McCoy^s Premier League Darts at the AECC in Aberdeen have sold out, with a 4,000 capacity crowd expected for the event, which will be screened live on Sky Sports HD1.

McCoy^s Premier League Darts
Week Two

February 16 - AECC, Aberdeen
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld
Gary Anderson v Andy Hamilton
Phil Taylor v Kevin Painter
Simon Whitlock v James Wade
Live on Sky Sports HD1 from 7pm and on for subscribers outside the UK, Ireland & Holland

Week Two Match Odds, courtesy of
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld

8/11 Adrian Lewis
9/2 Draw
15/8 Raymond van Barneveld

Gary Anderson v Andy Hamilton
8/15 Gary Anderson
5/1 Draw
5/2 Andy Hamilton

Phil Taylor v Kevin Painter
1/4 Phil Taylor
6/1 Draw
5/1 Kevin Painter

Simon Whitlock v James Wade
10/11 Simon Whitlock
9/2 Draw
6/4 James Wade

William Hill are the official betting partner of the McCoy^s Premier League Darts.

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