Peter Wright needs to rein in long-term targets in the short term to avoid slipping into Premier League elimination

“I’m going to get to number one in the world. I’ll keep going until I reach my target and that will be in 15 years I want to be a five-time world champion at least, and win other majors as well.”

Peter Wright has never been one to shy away from a challenge. The above quote is what he said in an interview with me more than two years ago now, in the lead up to the 2016 World Championship.

‘Snakebite’ has always set his targets high. Heading into this season the world number two said he was aiming to double his 2017-trophy haul in 2018 and win 20 titles in one year.

We may only be in the middle of March now and there is still a lot more darts to be thrown before the season finale at Alexandra Palace, but Wright’s lofty ambition may need to be reined in for the next few weeks at least.

That is because after last week’s round of matches in Leeds, Wright finds himself just one place above the bottom two in the Premier League.

A crushing 7-1 defeat to Mensur Suljovic at the First Direct Arena last Thursday, coupled with wins for Rob Cross and Raymond van Barneveld and a draw for Gary Anderson, saw Wright slip from fourth to eighth in the table in one night.

Of course, as much as a player can drop several places in one night in the Premier League, so can they climb as many places in one evening.

There will be many who dismiss the thought of Wright being in the bottom two come the end of Judgement Night in Liverpool next month.

But it’s a scenario which has gained significant traction after Wright suffered arguably two of the worst defeats of his career.

Cast your mind back to the weekend before last and the weather-affected UK Open in Minehead – the scene of Wright’s greatest triumph when he ended his long wait for a first major title 12 months ago.

The Scot returned to Minehead with an impressive record in the UK Open, before winning the tournament in 2017 he had reached the finals in both 2015 and 2016.

But his bid to retain the title ended at the first hurdle when he was dumped out by Northern Irish teenager Nathan Rafferty in a last-leg decider.

The 7-1 reverse to Suljovic was also a hard one to take for Wright. Against Rafferty he averaged in the high 80s, while against Suljovic his average crept up only a few points into the low 90s.

This from a player who had averaged over the 100 mark in his previous three games in the Premier League, which included a rare TV win over the world number one Michael van Gerwen.

There is no doubt that Wright has the game to pull away from an elimination battle over the next few weeks, but he cannot afford many more slip ups or he could end up facing the axe.

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