"It's my task to make sure she's ready": Stephen Bunting helping 'special person' Anastasia Dobromyslova ahead of TV return in Blackpool

Stephen Bunting has had a special year with the former BDO World Champion becoming a major champion at the Masters for the first time and also he will welcome another new arrival. His form has been superb and heads into the World Matchplay as a real favourite.

Bunting spoke to Online Darts ahead of the tournament about his new arrival as his family grows and how much the World Matchplay means to him.

"Obviously we're all building up to the middle of November. To bring another addition into the family is a massive achievement," said Bunting to Online Darts.

"The Matchplay always excites me, going to Blackpool was a holiday destination when I was a kid. It's the second biggest title for me behind the World Championships in my opinion. Such an iconic venue, such a tough place to win but when you win, it's a great feeling."

He recently also made his World Series return and it has lit the fire in Bunting that he deserves to be on that big stage with the darting elite. A chance he has craved for so long.

"Just to be back on the World Series in the elite of the sport playing with the best players on the sport is a massive achievement, it shows how far my game has come over the last 12-18 months. I want to be playing in these tournaments. I've shouted out loud for long enough and my performances led me to that place. I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing. Winning the Masters was a massive catalyst for me."

"I'm really optimistic what the next season can bring and onwards and upwards."

"It's my task to make sure she's ready": Stephen Bunting helping 'special person' Anastasia Dobromyslova ahead of TV return in Blackpool
Stephen Bunting has been a real success story of the last 12 months in darts.

Premier League return, Littler in Blackpool and Dobromyslova return

But can it lead to unlocking another return. A return to the Premier League. Getting a taste of it earlier in his career as he put it, he wants to be the people's champion for the fans that he has become.

"I'd be stupid to say I didn't. That's a huge honor to be in the Premier League and I've done it so many years ago. I had that little bit of a taste, didn't get relegated. Felt like I did a bit of justice for myself. When you're in them big arenas week in and week out, the fan base I've built and people were calling me the People's Champion so to get back in them arenas would be a massive boost."

The current champion of that tournament is one Luke Littler and he says he won't have it all his own way on his Winter Gardens debut. "I think yeah. Leading into the tournament you want to be playing well. Obviously the last two ProTours, he didn't do his best. But there are various reasons behind that for him. The kid's a phenomenal player, he's got a massive long future ahead of him. I'm not going to say he's not going to win as he's that good but there's certain obstacles he'll face. The heat, the fans being on top of him, such a small venue. But can he win it? Of course he can but so can everyone who's in it."

But someone he will hope will is Anastasia Dobromyslova. After being banned from playing in the BDO/WDF due to nationality despite living in the UK for a number of years, she could've given up but the former World Champion has stayed resolute and qualified for the Women's World Matchplay. Bunting has been helping her get ready and called her a special person.

"I'm so proud of her. A massive friend of mine and my family. I've actually got a few practice sessions in with her this week. She's such a special person. Obviously a phenomenal player and I've known her for so long now. It's my task to make sure she's ready. I'll be doing my utmost and she'll bring the best out of me."

"I was always in awe of Ana in the BDO. Her achievements can not be underlined enough. She's been a fantastic ambassador for ladies sport. She's such a great person and I'm so proud of her for sticking with it."

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