Anderson: Premier League will make me or kill me!

Two-time Premier League champion Gary Anderson makes his return to the sport’s biggest roadshow in Aberdeen tonight, although ahead of the big kick-off, ‘The Flying Scotsman’ admits 2020 could be a ‘make or break’ campaign.

The 49-year-old was forced to withdraw from last year’s competition due to a recurring back injury and although he lifted the World Cup of Darts alongside Peter Wright on his return in the summer, he was unable to replicate this success in subsequent major tournaments.

The two-time world champion failed to go beyond the quarter-finals in any televised ranking event in 2019 and whilst his season culminated in a last 16 exit at the World Championship against Nathan Aspinall, he still secured a Premier League berth after maintaining a spot in the world’s top six.

“I missed it last year and it kind of showed,” Anderson told the Darts Show podcast. “It’s taken a long while to get used to being back on the stage. I appreciate being invited back. I must be honest, it’s either going to make me or kill me, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.”

“The thing with me now is I cannot get myself to a dartboard to practice, so back in the Premier League, after the Premier League we’re away to tournaments at the weekend, so I’m going to be constantly playing now – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“It will make me or break me. Whether the body allows me to [perform] that’s a different story. I don’t know what is going to happen but we’ll give it a great go,” he added.

Anderson is embarking on a ninth Premier League campaign – more than any other player in this year’s field. Michael van Gerwen is the only other competitor to have lifted the coveted title, with James Wade missing out on selection and Raymond van Barneveld joining Phil Taylor in retirement.

The Scot is defending over £400,000 on the two-year rolling Order of Merit this year following his trophy-laden 2018, which saw him lift UK Open and World Matchplay titles, whilst also reaching the Grand Slam final and semi-finals at the Players Championship Finals and the World Championships.

He displayed signs of a resurgence towards the latter stages of 2019 and he kicked off the new season with an encouraging showing at last weekend’s Masters – thrashing world No 3 Gerwyn Price 10-2 before succumbing to eventual champion Peter Wright 11-7 in the last four.

“I was just getting nipped here and there, so that was me not throwing darts from week to week. The signs were there. Now we’re starting again from scratch. I’m going to be playing every week so it has got to get better. If it doesn’t then I’m deep in trouble,” he admitted.

Anderson is set to receive a hero’s welcome in Aberdeen tonight, with 8,000 adoring fans expected to fill out the new P&J Live Venue to roar on Anderson, newly crowned world champion Wright and ‘challenger’ John Henderson, who starred in last year’s venture to the Granite City.

The Scot takes on Daryl Gurney on home soil and there’s nothing to separate the pair in terms of head-to-head record, with eight wins apiece from their 17 tussles. Gurney has lost just two of his last eight against Anderson, but will the home crowd inspire him to a winning return?

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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