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Article: Wrighty: It's no more Mr Nice Guy

Wrighty: It's no more Mr Nice Guy

Peter Wright is ready to get nasty to get over his Unibet Premier League heartbreak of last year. Snakebite missed six match darts to take the title last May against Michael van Gerwen and kicks off his PL bid against Gerwyn Price tonight. But Wright believes he has to stop being Mr Nice Guy. He revealed: “I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously you have to be a little bit nervous because it’s another Premier League. “I’d just like to be in the last four and then go from there. The final is just on the day. Michael only won it on the day because I missed. “Obviously the new players have got big shoes to fill. The two-times world champion Adrian Lewis, 16-times champ Phil Taylor and then you’ve got James Wade who is ultra-consistent and been around for years. “So it will be interesting to see how the new players handle it and whether they deserved to be picked on form over the past couple of years what they’ve been doing. The new blood is going to be good, hope it won’t ruin them! “In the past I’ve always helped everybody and this year I’ll just let them suffer and cry on their own as they keep losing! “I’ve got to become ruthless. Instead of being the nice guy, I need to get a little bit nasty up on that stage playing my enemy instead of being pally. So I’ll be changing a lot of things this year.”
Rob Cross believes he produced a Mickey Mouse Masters display…because of a trip to Disneyland. The new World Champion lines up for a massive Unibet Premier League debut against Michael van Gerwen. Cross, 27, saw his honeymoon period end abruptly with defeat to Mensur Suljovic at the weekend in the Masters - but says he’ll be ready for MVG. He said: “It was a very different experience coming to event as World Champion. In a strange way I’m probably two or three years ahead of my time, or what I expected to be. “To get to this level so quickly is massive. The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster and whirlwind put together. “It’s something that I have to deal with and part of the game. The media demands have been huge but every top player has had to cope with that. “I felt rusty last weekend at the Masters. I had been away with the family to Disneyland for a few days and I didn’t feel 100 per cent. Not because I wasn’t prepared, I just wasn’t in my usual routine. I need to get back to that and I am now prior to the Premier League. “You could say my performance at the Masters was a bit Micky Mouse!” With Phil Taylor now off the scene, there’s little doubt that Sky Sports will build the Cross v MVG head-to-head as the new oche clash of the titans - especially after their epic World Championship semi-final. But Cross believes the rivalry is only just beginning. He added: “Michael is an outstanding player, World No 1 and still the player to beat. He showed that at the weekend. “He will be very hungry for success after not winning the Worlds, especially after having such an amazing year. “I’m very inexperienced at this level. These guys like Michael and Gary Anderson have dealt with being World Champion before and been at the top for a few years. “I’m still the new kid on the block. But that doesn’t mean to say I’m now going out to win, or even the underdog. I know what I’m capable of and I’ve still got lots of room to improve. “I’m not really worried that I lost at the weekend. If I’d averaged 81 or 88, I would have been concerned. But I played well but Mensur was just better on the day and his finishing was better than me, that’s where I felt most rusty.” Rob Cross, PDC, Premier League, Darts, Red Dragon Darts
Gary Anderson is fearing get thumped on the eve of the Unibet Premier League by protege Michael Smith. The Flying Scotsman lines-up to face Bully Boy with serious injury concerns about his back. Ando, 47, has been suffering big time since last November and several visits to an osteopath has failed to sort the problem. He said: “Michael says he’s going to thump me in the back before we go on stage. That wouldn’t surprise me because he is literally a big bully! “Seriously though I’m more concerned he will thump me once we start playing. I’m expecting big things from him this year, I think he’s ready to really go up a gear. “Hopefully that will be after Thursday night. I am suffering big time with the back. I’ve had another visit to the osteopath this week but I’ve now got this stabbing pain in my side which is like someone sticking a hot poker into your ribs. “The daft thing is that this has all come from me over-stretching once in the Grand Slam when I was throwing for double tops. “It’s such a stupid thing really yet I think now I’ve been over-compensating in different ways to avoid pain that I’ve hurt other bits of my back and neck. “There’s no doubt I’ve got to get it sorted. If it doesn’t improve within a few days I’ll have to get a proper check, maybe even an MRI scan to see what the problem really is. “I hate hospitals and doctors so I hope it doesn’t come to that but if I have to I will.” Gary Anderson, PDC, Premier League, Darts, Red Dragon Darts
Daryl Gurney hopes the emotion of playing on home soil will once again carry him to glory. Superchin makes his Unibet Premier League debut with a tough draw against former champion Raymond van Barneveld. But the last time Derry ace Gurney stood on stage in Dublin was to lift the World Grand Prix trophy last October. Now he’s hoping that home turf can help him win again. He said: “It’s hard to believe I’ll ever top that moment in Dublin, such an amazing feeling. “It will be emotional again on Thursday night but I genuinely feel being on home soil will help me against Raymond. “Hopefully playing in front of home fans will lift my game by a few per cent and that could make all the difference on the night. “It’s going to be very tough, not only Thursday night but the Premier League fullstop. It’s a long competition and I need to make a good start.” Gurney took a shock early exit in the World Championship to John Henderson and lost in the first round to Gerwyn Price in the Masters at the weekend. But he’s not worried about any dip in form. He added: “You need to understand that in sport you will have ups and downs, it’s how you deal with them that matters. “I need to react in the right way. I’ve had five weeks off with family and just preparing for the Premier League. I feel in a good place again. “Pardon the pun, but I’ve taken the recent defeats on the chin and I’m raring to go in the Premier League. I want to win in Dublin again, that would be a dream.” Daryl Gurney, PDC, Premier League, Darts, Red Dragon Darts
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia) Photography courtesy of Chris Sargeant & Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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