Power prepared for Barney
Phil Taylor is prepared to face his old sparring partner Raymond van Barneveld again in Thursday's Premier League in Exeter.
Last Updated: 04/03/10 10:55pm
Phil Taylor is prepared to face his old sparring partner Raymond van Barneveld again in Thursday's Premier League tie in Exeter, knowing the Dutchman is desperate to turn his fortunes around.
The big Dutchman has had a frustrating start to the new season though with two defeats out of three, and is scratching around to find form and consistency, while Taylor has continued to flourish.
'The Power' has won his last nine meetings with Barney but the 15-time world champion is not taking him lightly, although he admitted his old rival needed to find a way to raise his game again.
"He's frustrated at the minute and he's trying his best to turn it around," said Taylor. "If he beats me it will build his confidence up.
"The rest of the pack have caught him up and he needs to find a way to get better, and that's what he's doing.
"He will pick the right set of darts and will settle down but I don't know what's going through Raymond's mind.
"He's not doing the circuit so I think he needs a little bit more match practice to sharpen his game up - he's only having one bite at the cherry each week instead of also playing a few games at the weekend."
Defending champion James Wade also faces a crucial night at the Westpoint Arena, as he looks for end his disastrous start to the campaign that has left him propping up the table with three defeats out of three.
"Last year I had a slow start, although not as bad as this, but it's up to me to turn it around," said Wade, who plays Adrian Lewis in Exeter.
"I've made it hard for myself with my performances and hopefully this week I will turn up and play my best darts."
Lewis has only won once himself despite flashes of brilliance, and he added: "All I can look at is beating James and moving up the table.
"If I can win and keep him bottom then that's good for me, because my aim is to qualify in the top four. I'm going to be putting a lot of work in to make sure I'm ready for him."
Terry Jenkins remains unbeaten after two draws and a win, and his unbeaten record goes on the line against Mervyn King, whose own perfect start was ended last week.
Last year's beaten finalist King looked red-hot until he was beaten 8-6 by Ronnie Baxter in Belfast and the world number four will hope to waste no time in getting back to winning ways.
That result last week was Baxter's first of the campaign, but he has looked solid on his return to the event as he plays World Championship finalist Simon Whitlock in the other game of the night.