Last year’s beaten Premier League finalist Michael Smith finds himself drinking in the last-chance saloon as the eight remaining players head to Birmingham on Thursday.

Smith (6/5 – Match Betting), who has won only three matches this season, must beat Mensur Suljovic (6/4, Tie 7/2) or face elimination with three weeks to go before the play-offs.

‘Bully Boy’ has been posting high averages in his recent matches but suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat to Ricky Evans at the German Darts Grand Prix last week.

His 7-2 loss to Suljovic when they met in Week Seven in Berlin means the Merseysider has now come up short in three of his last four matches against his opponent.

And the Austrian, who has 14 points to his name this year, will be aware that this match represents his best chance of adding to his tally with scheduled meetings with the top two – Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross – to come in his final three fixtures.

Cross (5/6) can go top of the standings, even if only briefly, on Thursday when he faces Gerwyn Price (11/5, Tie 18/5) at Arena Birmingham.

The former world champion’s Premier League momentum was brought to a shuddering halt bt MVG in Cardiff last week, but Cross can be counted on to bounce back against Price.

He has a 3-1 head-to-head advantage in their meetings since the start of 2018 and has posted a higher tournament average and checkout percentage than the Welshman in 2019.

A defeat for Price would open the door for Daryl Gurney to jump above him if the Northern Irishman can prolong Peter Wright’s misery for another week.

Winless since Week Five, Wright has fallen so far out of contention that he could be eliminated next week.

Gurney (11/10) and Wright (13/8) shared the points from a 6-6 tie (7/2) earlier this year but the Scotsman squandered chances to win from 6-3 up and should make amends against a similarly out-of-form opponent.

Van Gerwen (4/9 – Match Betting) will be out to avenge a memorable 7-3 beating he took at the hands of James Wade (4/1, Tie 9/2) in Week Four when they meet in the last match on the oche.

Wade is capable of a sustained challenge again but MVG is back to his awesome best and should have no problem in setting the record straight.

Odds subject to change.