Simon Whitlock in the Manchester leg of Premier League Darts 2013On-form Simon Whitlock is hoping to prove a Premier League Darts survivor when he heads to Cardiff on Thursday – and erase any relegation fears.

Back-to-back victories over Wes Newton and James Wade have put the ‘Wizard of Oz’ back on the coat-tails of the top four and in contention to qualify for the play-offs.

Like the other nine players in the world-class field, the first priority for Leyland Paints-backed Whitlock is to avoid being the first players to suffer mid-season relegation.

Under a new format introduced this year, the bottom two players after the matches at Brighton on April 4 will be relegated.

Whitlock’s successive wins have seen him open up clear breathing space between himself and the relegation zone, and he is now hoping to guarantee his spot for the last five weeks of the regular season.

 “One more win would take me to eight points which I think would be enough to make sure that relegation isn’t an issue,” said the Waterlooville-based thrower.

“I think everyone is nervous about the prospect of relegation, especially with it being the first year it has been introduced.

“The sooner I can get the win and up to eight points, the sooner I can start concentrating on trying to push for the top four which I think is well within reach.”

Whitlock’s opponent at the Motorpoint Arena is Andy Hamilton, who is on a high after claiming the scalp of Phil Taylor in Manchester last week.

“Andy’s playing as well as anybody at the moment and it was a huge moment for him when he beat Phil,” added Whitlock.

“Every game in the Premier League is a massive challenge and this will be no different. The closer we get towards week nine and relegation, the more pressure everyone will be under, but it’s a case of keep trying to grind out the victories.”

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