Dave Chisnall will kick off his William Hill World Darts Championship bid on Thursday night.
The Morecambe ace, the current world number seven, has been drawn to face Austrian youngster Rowby-John Rodriguez for the second year running having prevailed 3-0 in the opening round 12 months ago.
Chisnall will be looking to build on good 2016 that has seen him reach the finals of both the Masters and the Players Championship only to be beaten by darts’ undisputed world number one, and favourite for the title at the Alexandra Palace, Michael van Gerwen.
The Premier League star said: “I’ve been in good form this year.
“I always take one tournament at a time and don’t dwell on my past losses.
“I’ll get better and try harder and see what comes.”
Darts’ biggest tournament runs until January 2 with a 72-strong field in action across the Christmas and New Year period as players battle to win the Sid Waddell Trophy and a £1.65 million prize fund.
All the action will be live on Sky Sports.