Former world champion Keith Deller set to manage Adrian Lewis in PDC World Championships

Adrian "Jackpot" Lewis

Adrian "Jackpot" Lewis - Credit: LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Former world champion, Ipswich’s Keith Deller, has agreed to manage Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis for a second time, and tipped the 29-year-old to be in the running for this year’s title.

Keith Deller

Keith Deller

The William Hill PDC World Championships start on Sky Sports on December 18 and will also feature Suffolk-born number 10 seed, Mervyn King, Mendham’s Peter Wright – last year’s runner-up, and Billericay-born Ipswich Town fan, Kevin Painter.

Ipswich-born Deller, who lifted the world title in 1983 and led Lewis to two world titles during their previous partnership, has tipped that trio to make steady progress, but predicted a battle between a quartet of players, including his protege, for the top prize.

“I can see past (Phil) Taylor, (Adrian) Lewis, (Michael) van Gerwen and (Gary) Anderson to win the final,” said Deller, who comes from Chantry.

“When you get to the worlds the stage is massive and I just think those four players are full of confidence right now.”

Deller added: “Myself and Adrian have just started again.

“I got him prepared for the last tournament (Players’ Championship Final), which he lost in the final and he is playing well.

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“The last time I managed him he got to two world titles in three years and there were no problems when we split (last year), he just wanted to try going on his own.

“He is a great lad with unbelievable talent and I’ll be there to manage his affairs – including his sponsorship and exhibitions as well as getting him warmed up for matches.

“Having won the World Championship in the past, I know Adrian will listen to me, whereas there are other managers that are not darts players.

“The only people who know what it’s like to be part of the atmosphere that is a World Championship are the players and MC Russ Bray.”

One of Lewis’ main rivals for the title will be 16-time winner Taylor, who faces German qualifier Jyhan Artut.

However, Wright’s form in reaching the final last year will give the likes of Painter, and King, in particular, hope, according to Deller.

“Mervyn (King) has been playing brilliant darts over the last couple of months.

“He always prepares right – he enjoys that part of the game – so there can never be any excuses.

“He is playing with confidence and his opponents know he is playing well, so that puts pressure on them.

“But Phil (Taylor) believes in himself and after what he has done, you don’t suddenly become a bad player.”

King has been drawn with Germany’s Max Hopp, Painter will take on either Russia’s Boris Koltsov or Japan’s Haruki Muramatsu, while Wright faces Wales’ Gerwen Price.

“There will be first round nerves and Kevin will have to be careful against Murumatsu, in particular, as if he is not on his game, the Japanese player can be a dangerous customer.

“There will be upsets but I don’t see any problems for Kevin, Mervyn or Peter.”