THE race to win places in the Betway Premier League Play-Offs begins in earnest in Sheffield on Thursday, as Stephen Bunting, Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld put aside their brush with elimination to target top-four finishes.
Following the excitement of last Thursday's Judgement Night in Manchester, where Kim Huybrechts and Peter Wright were knocked out of the £700,000 tournament, the remaining eight players start the run-in to next month's Play-Offs.
The stars will face each other once more during the remaining six league nights before the top four progress to the semi-finals - with the next four weeks seeing two players competing twice per night.
Thursday sees Dave Chisnall - who sits joint second on 13 points following a superb first half of the season - in action twice at the Motorpoint Arena, as he takes on World Champion Gary Anderson before returning to take on 2009 Premier League winner James Wade, who also doubles up.
"It's a big night for me," admits Chisnall, who defeated Phil Taylor 7-4 in Manchester last week and is two points adrift of league leader Michael van Gerwen.
"It's always a challenge when you play twice, but Gary's having a great season and James has been back to his best in the last year too.
"I started a bit slowly last week and missed a few doubles, but generally my doubles have been good this season.
"I don't feel I've been at my best yet and I've got away with a couple of wins, so if I can improve a little then hopefully I'll keep getting the results and stay up there in the table."
Van Barneveld's draw with Gary Anderson in a high-quality Judgement night encounter secured the reigning champion's status in the event, and the Dutchman is now looking to complete a league double over Taylor.
Van Barneveld defied a stunning 115 average to claim a 7-4 win over Taylor three weeks ago in Glasgow, and admitted that the clash with his great rival is an ideal way to kick-start his battle for a Play-Off place.
"I'm happy to have gone through to the rest of the season but it's going to be very hard from here to get into the top four," said van Barneveld, who sits three points adrift of Wade and Taylor.
"I can't see why I can't make the semi-finals but I've got to win more matches. Every game's like a final from here and every point is important.
"Games against players like Phil, Michael and Gary, though, seem to bring the best out of me and I averaged over 100 in each of the last three games, but I want to play like that every single week."
Lewis, meanwhile, faces Wade in the opening game in Sheffield as he bids to draw level with the left-hander on nine points in the table after kick-starting his season with a win which saved his own status and eliminated Wright a week ago.
"The next six weeks are going to be fantastic and I'm really looking forward to it," said Lewis. "I've played my bonus card, so let's see what happens now.
"I've been working really hard, and in a good way with the Premier League if you lose you can come back the following week and try to put things right - but it's tough because you're playing the best players in the world."
The night in Sheffield also sees Stephen Bunting celebrating his 30th birthday with a clash against the unbeaten league leader van Gerwen, with the St Helens ace having secured his survival in the event with a draw that knocked out Huybrechts last week.
"Every point could be massive over the next few weeks and I want to push towards the top four," said Bunting.
"I'm going to put a lot of groundwork in on the practice board because I still don't feel like I'm 100 percent, and hopefully I can get the two points this week.
"This is my debut [season] and it was always going to be nervous but hopefully I can push into the top four now. I'll be trying my best and we'll see how the next weeks progress."
Van Gerwen followed up his win over Wade last week by continuing his incredible 2015 so far by winning the German Darts Masters event in Munich over the Easter weekend, and the Dutchman is full of confidence ahead of the visit to Sheffield.
"I've been unbeaten for the first half of the season so I don't see why I can't be unbeaten for the second half too," said van Gerwen. "I'm loving my darts at the moment and I want to keep winning but I have to keep working hard.
"I'm looking forward to playing every game, no matter who I play. The pressure is off Stephen a bit now so he will want to play well and it will be a good game on Thursday."
Over 7,000 tickets have been sold for Thursday's Betway Premier League at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, with a small number still remaining available by calling 0114 256 5656 or online viawww.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk.
Betway Premier League
Night Ten, Thursday April 9
Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield
Adrian Lewis v James Wade
Gary Anderson v Dave Chisnall
Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld
Stephen Bunting v Michael van Gerwen
Dave Chisnall v James Wade
Tickets: 0114 256 5656 orwww.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk
Betway Match Odds
11/8 Adrian Lewis
11/8 James Wade
4/6 Gary Anderson
11/4 Dave Chisnall
4/7 Phil Taylor
3/1 Raymond van Barneveld
9/2 Stephen Bunting
2/5 Michael van Gerwen
13/8 Dave Chisnall
11/10 James Wade
Odds courtesy www.betway.com and subject to fluctuation.