Michael Van Gerwen surprised to be playing Peter Wright
Last Updated: 31/12/13 4:45pm
Michael van Gerwen admits he never expected to be playing Peter Wright in the World Championship final on New Year's Day.
Van Gerwen goes into the showpiece at Alexandra Palace as a red-hot favourite following his 6-0 demolition of two-time champion Adrian Lewis in Monday's semi-finals.
The Dutch ace will take on the colourful Scot in the race to seven sets after Wright continued his impressive tournament with a comprehensive 6-2 win over former finalist Simon Whitlock.
Van Gerwen was 4-2 up on Phil Taylor in last year's final but failed to win another set, and he insists he will be fully prepared to take on the unpredictable Wright this year.
"It was an amazing win for me against Adrian and I'm in the final again," he said. "Last year I lost, so we will see what happens this year. To do well in this tournament means a lot to me and I'm not finished yet.
"Peter is having a fantastic tournament. He's playing well, and has played well all year. I need to watch out for him, he can do strange things and I need to prepare very well.
"I never expected to be playing Peter Wright in the final, but I think he deserves to be there.
"Of course, when you are favourite there is always pressure on you. Against Adrian Lewis, the pressure was on my shoulders as well, but it didn't affect my game at all.
"I've got a day off and then we'll see how my form is for the final. I'm really looking forward to it.
"Peter is having a fantastic tournament. He's playing well, and has played well all year. I need to watch out for him, he can do strange things and I need to prepare very well. I never expected to be playing Peter Wright in the final, but I think he deserves to be there."
Michael van Gerwen
"When you lose a world final you learn a lot. Sometimes you need to take it on the chin, fall down and just stand back up again. That's exactly what I did and I hope I can get it this year."
Wright has vowed to push the world No 3 "all the way", and insisted he will not let the occasion get the better of him as he prepares for his first major final.
"I've been going on stage pretending it's a first-round match," he said. "I'm not trying to make myself nervous by thinking it's the quarter-final or semi-final, so I'm just preparing as I would for a first-round match every match.
"I've got a lot more experience on the circuit this year, and I'll be better prepared to play Michael in the final," said Wright. "I'll give him a better game and I'm going to push him all the way.
"I'll just play my own game and make sure I don't go out of my rhythm. I don't want to be dragged into his speed or my darts might go everywhere.
"I think I'm professional enough and strong-minded enough to get on with my job and carry on doing what I've been doing."
Much has been made of Wright's spectacular appearance, and he believes his colourful hair and loud trousers give him confidence on stage.
"It's like war paint going into a battle," he added. "The hair gives me confidence and makes me feel good, I might look silly but that's me, that's my image and I enjoy it. We're all characters in our family and it suits us all."
Watch the final live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky 3D. Tune in for all the build-up from 8pm