Glen Durrant is one of the world's best players, says Wayne Mardle
"I just think that Glen Durrant is one of the world's best players. He's won three back-to-back BDO world titles, matching Eric Bristow - what a man to match. It's incredible."
Last Updated: 12/02/19 1:58pm
Wayne Mardle has hailed Glen Durrant as one of the best players in world darts, as the three-time BDO world champion prepares to make his Premier League debut on Night Two in Glasgow.
Durrant matched Eric Bristow's record of winning three successive BDO World Championship titles in January, before opting to cross the darting divide and compete in PDC Qualifying School.
The 48-year-old suffered early exits on the opening two days of action in Wigan, but rallied to secure his PDC Tour Card via the UK Qualifying School Order of Merit.
Nevertheless, less than a month after becoming a PDC player Durrant is preparing to make his Premier League darts debut.
Gary Anderson's withdrawal through injury has opened the door to nine 'contenders' and Durrant steps in on Thursday, live on Sky Sports against world No 5 Daryl Gurney at the SSE Hydro.
The Teessider has dominated the BDO circuit for the past five years, and Sky Sports expert Mardle believes 'Duzza' has all the credentials to thrive in the PDC.
"I just think that Glen Durrant is one of the world's best players," said Mardle.
"Look, because he's not played in the PDC, it doesn't make him a bad player. He's won three back-to-back BDO world titles, matching Eric Bristow- what a man to match. It's incredible.
"There's been a few with real reputations. Stephen Bunting came over as world champ as well, but he withstood all that pressure. He got to semi-finals of other majors in his first year and Chizzy came over as well.
"Those two made it in or around the top 16 and can Duzza do the same? I wouldn't be surprised. I really wouldn't. I think he's a hell of a talent."
Durrant competed in his first two events as a PDC player in last weekend's Pro Tour double-header and he made an instant impression.
He suffered an opening-round exit on Saturday, but just 24 hours later stormed his way through to the final of Players Championship 2, defeating Peter Wright, Robert Thornton, John Henderson and Joe Cullen before succumbing 8-7 to Dave Chisnall in the final.
Given his incredible success during his BDO career, Durrant has been under intense scrutiny since his switch to the PDC, but Mardle believes the 48-year-old has the experience to cope with the expectation.
Mardle said: "There will be pressure but Glen is not a youngster that may get all carried away and a bit beaten by what he's going to hear, because there's going to be negatives floating around. 'Oh yeah he had a great weekend but is he good enough? Will he be able to handle the pressure all year?'
"Nobody knows. Let's wait and see. But he's experienced enough to know that he's going to have poor days and he's going to have great days. He's not going to expect it all to just happen, he's going to try and make it happen."
It's certainly been a whirlwind few weeks for Durrant. After 30 years as a housing manager responsible for the running of 15,000 social houses, he's leaving his job behind to embark on his new career in the PDC.
"They're both good scorers and they're both good finishers. They're both world class."
Mardle previews Gurney vs Durrant
Despite this, the three-time BDO world champion does possess televised PDC experience, having featured in each of the last three Grand Slam of Darts.
He reached the quarter-finals in 2017 by defeating Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall along the way, although this will be the first time he has locked horns with two-time PDC major winner Gurney.
The Northern Irishman has scooped World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals titles over the last 18 months which has catapulted him up fifth in the world, but Mardle believes there is very little to choose between the pair.
Mardle said: "This is a 50-50 game in my opinion. Whoever is going to win, it's just about taking those opportunities. I don't see either of them outplaying each other," said the four-time World Championship semi-finalist.
What comes next? Thursday, February 14 at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
|Peter Wright||vs||Michael Smith|
|Rob Cross||vs||James Wade|
|Raymond van Barneveld||vs||Gerwyn Price|
|Daryl Gurney||vs||Glen Durrant|
|Mensur Suljovic||vs||Michael van Gerwen|
"They are both good scorers and they're both good finishers. They are both world class. I think it's just going to come down to the odd one or two chances and if it's won, it's going to be 7-5, but I think it's going to be a draw.
"I see these two as a very similar standard. Bearing in mind Daryl Gurney is world No 5, there's no reason why Glen Durrant in a year or so, can't at least say get to Top 12.
"It will be a great test for both actually, especially for Glen Durrant- he won't let the occasion get to him; like I said he's a three-time back-to-back-to-back world champ, so I'm looking forward to it I've got to say."
The Premier League heads to The SSE Hydro in Glasgow for night two on Thursday, February 14. You can also stay up to date with all the action by following us @SkySportsDarts and get all the latest news, previews and interviews www.skysports.com/darts