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Kevin Painter determined to reinvigorate his career at the 2017 World Championship

Painter aims to roll back the years against Taylor (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Former World Championship finalist Kevin Painter insists his career is "back on track" after being blighted by personal problems in recent months.

Painter, the 2011 Players Championship winner, has dropped to 46th in the PDC Order of Merit following a turbulent spell both on and off the oche, but is now aiming to seize an unexpected opportunity in the 2017 World Championship.

The 49-year-old benefited from Kyle Anderson's misfortune by being handed a place in the sport's show-piece at the eleventh hour after the Australian was forced to withdraw due to Visa problems.

A stalwart of the competition, Painter began his 23rd World Championship campaign with a 3-1 victory over Jamie Caven in the opening match of the tournament, setting up a show-down with his old rival Phil Taylor after the Christmas break.

The Daventry ace insists he still has a burning desire for success and feels he still has what it takes to cut it in the top echelons of the sport.

"You can see when I go on the stage I'm up for every leg," said Painter. "If I didn't get that then I wouldn't bother. 

"If I thought I couldn't compete with these lads then there'd be no point me going up there.

"The youngsters coming through thesedays don't give a monkey's about the likes of me who's been around for years.

"If you haven't got that determination and that fire in the belly - you're not going to survive in the PDC." 

Painter celebrates against Taylor back in 2004 (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
After a barren run of results and just two televised tournament appearances in 2016, Painter is determined to turn the corner and kick-start an Indian Summer in his career.

He added: "It's been well documented I've had one or two problems away from the oche which distracted my focus on the game.

"I've got my head around that now, surrounded myself with decent people and I'm back on track. 

"I'm throwing some decent stuff, I didn't really do myself justice in the First Round but I got the win and that's all I care about."

Painter is faced with a Second Round clash with Taylor for the second successive year at Alexandra Palace and is bidding to avenge his 4-1 defeat to the 16-time World Champion 12 months ago.

The fixture evokes memories of their classic 2004 final at The Circus Tavern, in which Taylor prevailed in a tie break set, and Painter is quietly confident he can make life difficult for 'The Power' once again.

"We've had great games in the past," added 'The Artist'. "Phil's in better form than I am at the moment but he knows if he's not on his top game and I do turn up, he's got a problem.
 
"Getting in this tournament was probably a turning point, it looked at one stage like I wasn't going to be here and that would have been quite painful.

"We don't play that much darts on the tour anyway to be fair so to miss this tournament would have been a disaster.

"I don't want to sit at home watching all the other lads playing on TV, I want to be in amongst it myself.

"I've just got to take everything as a bonus at the moment and hopefully I can crack on from here."


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Kevin Painter determined to reinvigorate his career at the 2017 World Championship

Former World Championship finalist Kevin Painter insists his career is "back on track" after being blighted by personal problems in recent months.

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