PETER MANLEY is looking to continue defying the critics when he meets Adrian Lewis in the Holsten Premier League Darts at the Wolves Civic on Thursday night. Manley, the former Las Vegas Desert Classic champion, was the 50/1 outsider for the Premier League when the tournament began in Plymouth last week.

He opened with an 8-6 victory over Colin Lloyd, and takes on rising star Lewis in Wolverhampton. However, Manley is rated as 3/1 to defeat Lewis, despite the 22-year-old’s loss to World Champion Raymond van Barneveld last week. “Adrian missed a lot of doubles last week and if he does that again I will be there at the end,” said Manley. “If I turn up and suddenly start scoring well and hitting doubles, the other players will be in trouble.

“It’s great to be in my third Premier League and I am here to enjoy it and make it as hard as I can for everyone. “Regardless of whether I’m 6-0 down, I’ll always be fighting and trying to come back and win it 8-6.”Manley was defeated 3-1 by Lewis in the semi-final of the Stan James Players Championship in Gibraltar last month.

However, this will be the pair’s first televised clash since Lewis controversially walked off-stage during their World Championship quarter-final in December 2005, which Manley went on to win. “We’re friends on and off the oche now and it makes absolutely no difference to us,” said Manley. “I wish him well. “I think we are going to have some fantastic games. Obviously Sky Sports will make something of the incident at the World Championship, but that is just going to make the game bigger.”

Manley added: “He has been talked up as a future World Champion and personally I probably think he will be. “But all the time that the other players are coming into the game, and Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld are raising the level, he has got to have his mind set on what he wants to do. “I think he can have the wrong head on at times, but he has got to learn by it and the Premier League will be a great experience for him.”

Lewis, 22, has made a rapid rise up to fifth in the world in little over two years as a professional, and admits he has matured since the Manley incident. “I thrive on big events and try to excite people,” he said. “If I can do that, make people enjoy themselves and also win, then it’s great. “At the end of the day, the experience of being on TV every week will boost my game no end.

“I know that, and maybe it will give me a boost in other tournaments, maybe another 30 percent.” The meeting between Manley and Lewis will be the fourth and final game of the evening in front of a sold-out Wolves Civic.

Van Barneveld and Lloyd will clash in the night’s opener, with Roland Scholten facing Terry Jenkins before Phil Taylor and Dennis Priestley come head-to-head in a repeat of five World Championship finals they contested. “He has been my greatest opponent throughout the nineties and even now,” said Priestley. “I enjoy playing him because you’re going up against one of the best. “That’s what I play the game for. I had a great start last week, winning against Terry Jenkins, and I want to kick on from there.”

Holsten Premier League Darts – Night Two, Wolverhampton Civic

Colin Lloyd v Raymond van Barneveld
Roland Scholten v Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor v Dennis Priestley
Peter Manley v Adrian Lewis

Live on Sky Sports, 7.30pm

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