FIVE players will do battle to avoid elimination from the Betway Premier League on Thursday, with reigning champion Raymond van Barneveld amongst the stars fighting for survival on Judgement Night at The Manchester Arena.
The bottom two players in the Betway Premier League table following Thursday's ninth league night will drop out of the ten-player tournament.
In the closest race yet since the elimination scenario was introduced to the event in 2013, five players still have a chance of being knocked out in Manchester.
Bottom-placed Kim Huybrechts, who sits two points adrift, has to defeat Stephen Bunting and hope that both Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld lose if the Belgian is to survive.
While van Barneveld takes on high-flying World Champion Gary Anderson, Lewis plays Peter Wright, who could be dragged into the elimination battle along with Bunting if they suffer defeat.
Lewis' only win of the season so far came on the opening night in Leeds, and though he has also picked up three draws since, he saw a 7-2 defeat to Dave Chisnall in Dublin a week ago leave him second bottom.
"It's a do-or-die match and if I finish like I did last week I deserve to go out," said Lewis. "Anybody can score well, but it's about hitting the doubles at the right times.
"I did it in Glasgow but in Dublin it didn't happen for me. I also think I'm starting too slowly in games and I've got to try and come out of the blocks a lot quicker."
Wright has picked up four draws and a win so far this season, but is in confident mood that he can bounce back from a defeat to James Wade last week with a strong display in Manchester.
"Last week was disappointing for me because I didn't take the form I'd been showing in practice onto the big stage, but this is a new week and I'm focusing on the game with Adrian," said Wright.
"It eases the pressure knowing that I only need a draw but I'm going to go up there and do everything I can to win, and I'm feeling confident because I've got a good record against Adrian on TV.
"If he turns up and plays like he can do, which is play brilliant darts, then it should be a great game and I'm looking forward to it.
"I've been playing pretty well myself and I know what I can do but I've been making it interesting for the fans recently!"
Van Barneveld is in action in the night's final game as he takes on World Champion Anderson, with the reigning champion having overcome Phil Taylor a fortnight ago only to lose to Dutch rival Michael van Gerwen in Dublin.
"I'm happy with my game at the moment but it's all about hitting your doubles," he said. "Against Phil I took my chances and got the win but against Michael I missed some doubles and all of a sudden he was 3-0 up.
"I have to make sure I take out my doubles against Gary because he's another heavy scorer.
"It's not always about the averages - I'd rather have an average in the 80s and win than average over 100 and lose, and the most important thing this week is getting the result I need against Gary.
"The first target each season is not to be knocked out because we've seen great players like Gary and Simon Whitlock eliminated in the last couple of years, but I'm not putting myself under any extra pressure.
"These are the best players in the world but I've got to rely on my ability. It's a great competition and I'd love to still be involved and try and qualify for the top four.
"I've finished second in the league for the last two years and winning this last year was one of the best achievements of my career."
Anderson had suffered elimination in 2013 but is sat in second place this time around following three successive wins - and is determined to show no mercy to the reigning champion when they meet.
"I'm going out to win and I'll be giving it 100 percent," said Anderson. "I want to be firing on all cylinders and I'm looking forward it - it's nice for other players to have the pressure for once!
"There are a few players involved and it will be fun and games for them - I'll be keeping an eye on the other matches before I go up there!"
Of the five players in the elimination battle, Bunting is the most likely to avoid the drop as he enters his clash with Huybrechts needing to win only two legs to secure his place.
"I'm not really feeling any pressure," said the former Lakeside Champion. "I've just got to focus on my own game and do what I can to win the game - I'm not thinking about how many legs I need or anything like that.
"I've taken the season game by game and obviously I'd have liked to have avoided being in this situation, but I can only think about what I'm doing and I'll go up there and play my own game.
"It's fantastic being in the Premier League and obviously every player wants to avoid being eliminated, and if I get beyond Thursday then the pressure's off and I can relax and push for a Play-Off place."
Belgian ace Huybrechts has competed strongly during his debut season, but knows that he has to defeat Bunting and hope for both Lewis and van Barneveld to lose in Manchester if he is to complete a great escape.
"I know it's out of my hands but I've got to focus on my job and do everything I can to beat Stephen when we play," said Huybrechts. "After that, we'll see what happens and I know it would be a very nervous wait.
"I've been happy with how I've played this season but I've come up against some great performances from the other players.
"In a lot of the games it's only been one mistake or one dart which has been the difference and it's been a fantastic experience so far - but I don't want it to end on Thursday.
"The crowds have been fantastic and given me great support wherever we've been, and I'm already feeling like a better player because of the last two months."
Unbeaten league leader Michael van Gerwen faces James Wade, the 2009 Premier League champion who sits in fourth place and has won two and drawn one of his last three games.
"Michael's flying at the moment, playing really well so it's not a pressure game for me," said Wade. "He knows what I can do and I'm watching what he does.
"It's not about whether Michael turns up on the night because he's turning up for every game, every week, but I think I can beat him if I hit my finishes.
"Normally I'm trying to claw onto the other players because they're better scorers than me, but a lot of people have said recently that my scoring's been just as good and it will need to be against Michael."
Phil Taylor, the 16-time World Champion, is up against third-placed Dave Chisnall in the night's other game, with the St Helens ace aiming to continue his strong season.
"People said before the season started that I was one of the favourites to go out, but I've proved them wrong so far and I'm happy," said Chisnall, who defeated Lewis 7-2 last week.
"I'm doing well and I'll be trying to keep that going now. I won't get great results every week but I'm trying to do that and hopefully I can stay in that top four."
A small number of tickets for Thursday's Betway Premier League at The Manchester Arena are still available and can be purchased by calling 0844 847 8000 or online at www.eventim.co.uk.
Betway Premier League
Judgement Night, Thursday April 2
The Manchester Arena
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Phil Taylor v Dave Chisnall
Stephen Bunting v Kim Huybrechts
Adrian Lewis v Peter Wright
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Tickets: 0844 847 8000 or www.eventim.co.uk
All games are the best of 12 legs
Betway Match Odds
1/2 Michael van Gerwen
7/2 James Wade
8/15 Phil Taylor
100/30 Dave Chisnall
11/8 Stephen Bunting
11/8 Kim Huybrechts
11/10 Adrian Lewis
13/8 Peter Wright
4/7 Gary Anderson
3/1 Raymond van Barneveld
Odds courtesy www.betway.com and subject to fluctuation.