Michael Smith is working harder than ever in his bid to return to winning ways
"There's no point just giving up and just letting everything defeat you, you've got to get back on it and keep going"
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 16/05/19 12:17pm
Michael Smith insists he is working harder than ever to regain the winning formula as his Premier League campaign comes to a close on Thursday night.
It's been a difficult season for 'Bully Boy', who currently occupies seventh spot in the table and is unable to qualify for this year's Play-Offs at The O2.
The 28-year-old enjoyed the best year of his career 12 months ago, reaching the Premier League final and World Championship final; succumbing to Michael van Gerwen on both occasions.
However, it's been season of disruption for Smith, who suffered a serious health scare in the early stages of this year's competition as he underwent emergency surgery on an abscess on his groin.
Speaking on the Darts Show podcast, the St Helen's star admitted it's been a testing season but refused to use his health issues as the reason behind a disappointing campaign.
"If the UK Open hadn't have been the night after Exeter I would have pulled out but I wasn't missing a ranking event or a TV event," Smith said.
"It's only a bit of pain, the walking didn't affect my throwing."
The former World Youth champion finished second in last year's Premier League despite curiously posting the lowest tournament average within the top five.
Nevertheless, Smith's tournament average of 96.84 this term is only bettered by the league's top three - Rob Cross, Van Gerwen and James Wade.
Missed doubles have been the recurring theme for 'Bully Boy' in 2019. His 35 per cent checkout percentage is the worst in this year's field, although he vows he's working hard to resolve his double-trouble.
"Last year I think I was bottom on the averages and this year I'm third, but my doubling is doing my nut in at the moment," said the 28-year-old.
"I just can't seem to hit that outer ring, if I could I would be alright.
"I do three days a week with Whitey [Ian White] Monday to Wednesday and when he goes home after three hours I go back out for another three.
"So I'm doing like six hours a day just to try and get it back and once it is back I'll just go back down to the three hours then.
"There's no point just giving up and just letting everything defeat you, you've got to get back on it and keep going," he added.
The Premier League is notoriously one of the most physically and mentally gruelling events on the circuit and Smith has essentially been treading water in recent weeks, knowing that the Play-Offs were out of reach.
The World No 6 takes on top-four hopeful Daryl Gurney in his final league fixture in Leeds on Thursday, as he looks to secure his first win since Night Eight in Rotterdam.
What comes next? Night 16 - Thursday, May 16 - First Direct Arena, Leeds
|Gerwyn Price||vs||Peter Wright|
|Daryl Gurney||vs||Michael Smith|
|Michael van Gerwen||vs||Mensur Suljovic|
|James Wade||vs||Rob Cross|
However, Smith admits he's looking forward to putting this year's Premier League behind him as he switches his attention to winning a first PDC major.
"I'm just looking forward now to Thursday and then the Premier League is done for me, out of the way and I can concentrate on the big TV events then and get ready for those.
"The start of my year has not been the best but I had my chances in the UK Open, although I wasn't fully fit.
"Nothing is going to stop me keep working hard to get the first one (major) and once I do get the first one, I'll be alright."
The Premier League regular season concludes in Leeds on Thursday, May 16. 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