Merseysiders Michael Smith and Stephen Bunting are preparing for their World Darts Championship campaigns.
The St Helens pair will have to wait over a week before they start their tournament, as the competition gets underway on Monday (December 14)
Both Bunting (35) and Smith (30) face winners of preliminary ties and start their journey on Wednesday December 23.
World number 26 Bunting faces either Deta Hedmen or Andy Boulton.
Hedmen is the second oldest player ever on the PDC and she is looking to cause an upset similar to Fallon Sherrock in last year’s tournament.
Smith, ranked world number 4, faces Jason Lowe or Dmitriy Gorbunov in the evening session.
Bunting and Smith will look to improve on their last World Darts Championship.
Smith exited in the second round while Bunting left the tournament in the fourth after a 4-0 loss to runner-up Michael Van Gerwen.
‘Bully Boy’ Michael Smith will hope he can rekindle his 2019 form where he made it to the final of the event, eventually losing to Van Gerwen.
The pre-tournament odds from Bet 365 show Michael Smith as fourth favourite at 14/1.
Stephen Bunting is a 250/1 outsider to win the 2021 tournament.
The good news for Bunting and his fellow competitors is that 1,000 fans will be permitted inside the Ally Pally for each session.