Mark McGeeney is hoping to cap off what has been a big year for him on the BDO circuit with victory in 2018 World Championship at Lakeside.
The man from Stockport is top of the world rankings going into the event and a victory in the biggest tournament of the season would help him cement that position at the end of the campaign.
Gladiator was the runner-up for the second season running in the World Masters earlier in the year when he was beaten in the final 6-1 by Poland's Krzysztof. The Englishman won four matches in the competition, including a 4-0 whitewash of number eight seed Martin Phillips.
McGeeney made his debut in the Grand Slam of Darts in 2017 but was handed a tough group which included Mensur Suljovic, Michael Smith and James Wilson. Although he lost all three matches in the pool, he averaged 100.40 against Smith in a 5-4 defeat which meant he could not progress into the last 16.
The 45-year-old, who is 9/2 to lift the trophy at Lakeside this year, is making his third appearance in the tournament. He was eliminated in the second round by Scott Mitchell in 2016 while, 12 months ago, he went out at the same stage against Scott Waites.
McGeeney is the number two seed this year and is in the bottom half of the draw. He has to face three-time world champion Martin Adams in the first round in what is arguably the standout tie in the draw.
Gladiator is 4/7 to get past the Lakeside legend and potentially set up a second-round contest with last year's runner-up Danny Noppert.
If McGeeney does lift the trophy on 14th January, it will be the biggest prize of his career and it would help him secure another spot in the Grand Slam of Darts in 2018.
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