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Players Championship 5+6 preview: Rested Luke Humphries a decent prospect

There is a Players Championship double-header for darts fanatics to look forward to this weekend, as events 5 and 6 take place at the Barnsley Metrodome.

The two events see fields of 128 players - composed of PDC Tour Card Holders and PDPA Associate Members - compete across two days of action, with £12,000 up for grabs for each winner.

WhatPlayers Championship 5 & 6
WhereBarnsley Metrodome
WhenSaturday 11th March - Sunday 12th March
How to watchPDCTV
OddsMichael van Gerwen 9/2, Gerwyn Price 8/1, Michael Smith 8/1, Jonny Clayton 12/1, Nathan Aspinall 20/1, Luke Humphries 20/1

Ryan Searle is the early leader in the Players Championship Order of Merit after landing the spoils in event one, as well as finishing runner-up to Dirk van Duijvenbode - who sits second - in event four.

Danny Noppert, after his 8-3 victory over Simon Whitlock in event two, and Belgian Kim Huybrechts - who was an emphatic 8-1 victor over Gabriel Clemens in the third event - are the other two Players Championship winners.

Top seed Luke Humphries, world champion Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price are all in the star-studded field, but Peter Wright is an absentee.

Play will commence at 1pm each day and Van Gerwen is 9/2 favourite to win event five after winning a third Premier League night in a row in Liverpool on Thursday.

The prices for event six are currently quoted the same as event five, but that is subject to change depending on how Saturday's action plays out.

Premier League stars could be vulnerable

It is no surprise to see the majority of the Premier League stars involved this weekend dominating the betting, but they have had a lot of travelling time to contend with recently and could prove vulnerable.

MvG showed his dominance with a third Premier League win on the spin in Liverpool on Thursday evening, and that came just four days on from him being involved in the UK Open final with Andrew Gilding.

The Dutchman suffered a shock defeat to Gilding in the final of that televised major at Butlin's Minehead Resort but, having been kept so busy, it would take some effort for him to be fully wound-up in Barnsley.

The same can be said of Nathan Aspinall and Dimitri Van den Bergh, who both made the quarter-finals of the UK Open before travelling to Liverpool to compete in the Premier League.

Wright is missing and while Chris Dobey, Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price may be suffering from less fatigue, neither of the trio appear to be performing consistently well enough yet.

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Humphries primed for profitable weekend

Humphries would have been disappointed to have missed out on a place in the Premier League and at every opportunity this year will be keen to showcase his talents.

Last season Humphries won one, finished runner-up twice and made another eight quarter-finals from the 30 Players Championship events, so he is well-suited to the challenge and he has been in excellent form, too.

Cool Hand Luke has already made a semi-final in Barnsley this season, which came in event two, while he built on that when finishing runner-up to Dave Chisnall on the European Tour.

Humphries was no match for MvG in the last-16 of the UK Open last weekend, but he had earlier defeated Michael Smith and Damon Heta, which suggests he heads to Yorkshire in a confident mood.

At 20/1, Humphries could be worth backing for both of this weekend's floor competitions.

Rock may be edging nearer

Josh Rock was a breakthrough star last season, winning Players Championship 28 and making the fourth round of the World Championship, and it should only be a matter of time until the 21-year-old builds on that promise.

Rock fell at the first hurdle of last weekend's UK Open, but Luke Woodhouse was a tricky draw and he had been showing signs of progress in these events prior to that.

The Northern Ireland arrowsmith was a quarter-finalist in Players Championship 3 and then made the last-16 in event 4, where he bumped into an in-form Chisnall.

That suggests he is holding his form well and, refreshed after a week off, Rock could have plenty to shout about at the Barnsley Metrodome.

At 22/1 in both events, the youngster is another worth considering for a productive weekend.

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