Gary Anderson’s shoes are so big, the PDC has decided it takes nine players to fill them.

The Flying Scotsman had to withdraw from the 2019 Premier League due to chronic back issues. The PDC wasted no time at all in picking a replacement – or replacements, in this case. Nine players will step in for the nine matchdays leading up to Judgement Night in Rotterdam.

The action starts on Thursday in Newcastle; Anderson’s first replacement is local lad Chris Dobey, who plays Mensur Suljovic. There were murmurings about Glen Durrant’s chances of replacing the Scot in the Premier League. Duzza will do so, but for one week only. He goes to Glasgow to meet Daryl Gurney.

Another stand-in sure to get a great reception is Steve Lennon, who will take on Peter Wright in Dublin. Night Four in Exeter sees surprise PDC World Championship quarter-finalist Luke Humphries play Gerwyn Price.

One Scot has been drafted in to replace another in Aberdeen. John Henderson will play against Michael van Gerwen in Anderson’s stead. That’s followed by Nathan Aspinall, who reached the World Championship semi-finals on debut, having a chance for revenge over Michael Smith for his Ally Pally defeat. Then the Berlin crowd get a treat on Night Seven. German hero Max Hopp will play Raymond van Barneveld.

Two youngsters will take part in the Rotterdam Ahoy double-header. On the first of two consecutive Premier League nights, Dimitri van den Bergh plays James Wade. It’s unlikely that Rob Cross will be battling relegation on Judgement Night, but if he is the 2018 world champion will have to beat Dutch prodigy Jeffrey de Zwaan.

The contenders will not pick up points, but any points earned by their opponents will be retained. The development means that only one player will be eliminated after nine weeks of play, with the remaining eight scrapping for spots at the season-ending play-offs in London.

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Author: Ed McCosh