Home hero Henderson braced for backlash from “wounded animal” MVG

Highlander Henderson aims to raise the roof in Aberdeen (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Big John Henderson admits he will have to hold back the tears before facing “wounded animal” Michael van Gerwen in Aberdeen.

Huntly hero Henderson makes his Unibet Premier League debut as a 'Contender' against the world number one at the BHGE Arena on Thursday.

The Highlander knows it is going to be an emotional night as he plays in front of his mum Margaret and home fans for the first time live on TV.

He revealed: "I've played in big matches like Semi-Finals of majors but to play in front of a such a big crowd on my home soil is going to massive - probably the biggest night of my career.

"It's going to be tough to play Michael, of all the players to face. But I hope I can just give him a game.

"If I get a result I know I'll take the roof off the venue, so that’s a big incentive for me obviously.

"I've got the game to beat him, I know that. I've beaten him before on TV on the big stage in a major. I'm also playing well at the moment, especially the ProTours.

"But I'm playing the man. Unfortunately he's lost his last two big matches. There's only thing harder than playing Michael van Gerwen and that’s a wounded Michael van Gerwen!

"My mum Margaret is coming and she's not actually seen me play live in the PDC - It'll be good for her. 

"She watches all the matches on TV and even the Dart Connect website to follow my results at the weekends. It will be very special for her.

"Obviously my wife Veronica will be there and a few friends from Huntly. But I reckon I'll know 80 per cent of folk who are in the arena."

Henderson reached the Third Round of the World Championship for the second time on the spin back in December. 

Since then, the world number 21 has performed well in Players Championship events so far this season, reaching four Quarter-Finals in six outings. 

Henderson is no stranger to a big stage scalp, having famously defeated MVG en route to the Semi-Finals of the 2017 World Grand Prix. 

He added: "There will be no special preparations, just what I do normally. I'm not superstitious, so I don't have lucky pants or anything. 

"I hear that Michael has a lucky omen square sausage when he plays in Scotland. Perhaps I should go to his hotel and steal all the sausage so he can't have any!

"I think I will have to keep a grip on my emotions. I've sat on the sidelines watching Premier League and watch the crowd when Gary is coming on, the reception he gets is just unbelievable.

"I used to say to my wife ‘imagine the noise in Aberdeen if I was up there’. Well now we are going to find out.

"Seriously though, I'll need to stay cool and not get tearful especially when I hear the fans singing Flower of Scotland. It's going to be emotional.

"For me it will be like scoring the winning goal at Hampden to get Scotland into the World Cup. It’s my World Cup final sort of thing."

Henderson has a huge task against MVG who lost his first Premier League game to James Wade last week and then exited the UK Open to Mervyn King at the first hurdle on Friday night.

He added: "Everybody will be expecting him to win 7-0 or 7-1.

"Every leg I take will be a bonus.I have played Michael on television before and won the game.

"Even when Michael doesn’t play well, he still averages around 100.

"He will be on a mission to put things right after losing last week in the Premier League and then going out early in the UK Open.

"Hopefully I don’t get the backlash of that. It is a one-off game and anything can happen."

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Home hero Henderson braced for backlash from “wounded animal” MVG

Big John Henderson admits he will have to hold back the tears before facing “wounded animal” Michael van Gerwen in Aberdeen.

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