Posted on March 13th, 2013
The Waterlooville based Aussie who is sponsored by Leyland Paints and demonstrated all his battling qualities in Nottingham last week as he roared back from 4-1 down to defeat Wes Newton 7-5 last week.
That represented a crucial success for the Australian who, after losing his three previous matches, now lies seventh in the 10-man table.
It means Whitlock remains on course to not only avoid being a victim of the newly-introduced relegation – the bottom two players will drop out after four more matches – but also to challenge for a top-four finish and an end-of-season play-off place.
Now Whitlock heads to the MEN Arena for a meeting with a rejuvenated Wade determined to build on his second victory of the season and a run to the quarter-finals of the UK Masters in Minehead, Somerset, over the weekend.
“That win over Wes was absolutely huge, particularly having been behind in the early stages of the game,” said Whitlock, who turned 44 last week.
“To play so well under pressure has given me a massive lift going into the game against James.
“He’s back to his best now and playing the darts that we know James can play. But I just have to concentrate on my own game and I’m pleased with the way I’m performing at the moment.”
Just two points separate Whitlock in seventh from 16-times world champion Phil Taylor – who along with Michael van Gerwen suffered a surprising defeat last week – in third spot.
It is all making for the most intense battle for a play-off place in the history of the Premier League, and Whitlock believes the race for a coveted top four finish will go right to the wire.
“The standard this year is incredible and you can’t predict any results,” added the Wizard.
“The league table is really tight and I don’t think anything is going to change on that front between now and the end of the season.
“Everyone is producing strong performances and it’s going to come down to consistency as to who gets in the top four.”
Whitlock has a good record against Wade having won 12 of their previous 21 meetings and 6 out of the last 8.
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