Gary Anderson maintains he is quietly confident of claiming a third consecutive World Championship title and insists the pressure lies firmly on the shoulders of rival Michael van Gerwen.
Anderson is bidding to become the first player to land a hat-trick of PDC world titles at Alexandra Palace, with only Phil Taylor having previously completed the feat at The Circus Tavern.
The world number two retained the Sid Waddell trophy courtesy of a 7-5 victory over Adrian Lewis in the 2016 final and starts out as the 13/2 second favourite to extend his unbeaten run at Ally Pally to 18 games.
"It's going to be a really hard job," admitted Anderson. "There's not been too many players that have had the chance to win three in a row so it would be very special.
"I'm going to make sure the real Gary turns up and the other players are going to have to play well to take it off me."
Anderson, whose trio of televised titles this season have all come in overseas World Series events, kicks off his world title defence against PDPA Qualifier Mark Frost on Thursday December 15.
The Flying Scotsman will take centre stage on opening night in the capital and insists he is expecting a tough test from the Stoke veteran comically nicknamed 'Frosty The Throw Man'.
"It's a really tough draw," said Anderson. "It's definitely going to be a hard game.
"Mark's been around the circuit for a lot of years and is a good player, so I know I'll have to be ready for him but I can't wait to get back to Ally Pally.
"Every time we're on the ProTour, Mark will always sit at our table. He's a lovely lad and over the past six months he's been playing really well.
"It's easier playing a player that you know because in a way you know what they're going to do.
"I think the more you think about games you more it's going to affect you. You have to just get up there and switch your mind off."
Anderson is situated in the opposite half of the draw to runaway world number one Van Gerwen - who heads into the sport's show-piece event as the odds-on favourite for the first time.
That means the duo are on a collision course for a potential show-down in the final on January 2, with Van Gerwen out to avenge his exits in the Semi-Finals and Last 16 in his past two World Championship campaigns.
Van Gerwen defeated Anderson in the final of October's World Grand Prix to secure one of his 25 PDC titles this year, and Anderson is under no illusion that it is likely to take something special to deny the Dutchman a crowning glory.
"I always like being the underdog," he added. "Over the last 12 months, Michael has been absolutely fantastic, he's won just about everything and hats off to him.
"He's head and shoulders above the rest of us just now but this is the one he's after so there might be a bit more pressure on him.
"If he doesn't win it this year there might be a chink in his armour.
"Michael over the next 10-15 years is going to find it hard but he's different class."
Victory would see Anderson become the second most successful player in the tournament's 24-year history, with the added incentive of a record £350,000 top prize up for grabs.
"I'm going to give it 180 per cent, it would be great to lift it three times and would be the icing on the cake," added the 45-year-old.
"I'm really happy with what I've done and If I don't manage to win it again then I won't lose a wink of sleep."