Colin Lloyd says he is back to his old self and ready to claim another major title as he returns to the scene of his breakthrough victory - the Sky Poker World Grand Prix in Dublin.
'Jaws' gobbled up the Grand Prix title back in 2004 before then going on to add the World Matchplay the following year as Lloyd made his way to the world number one spot in darts.
A leaner spell has followed recently and with Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade and Terry Jenkins splitting major titles and finals with Phil Taylor, Lloyd has been squeezed down the rankings.
As the darts circuit again heads to the Emerald Isle for the Grand Prix at the CityWest Hotel in Dublin, Lloyd believes his fine form in Ireland will help him back to the top of the game.
"I enjoy playing at the CityWest, I was just chatting with the other half the other day and just looking at a few achievements and a few other things I've done overt the past few years and I've actually got a very, very good record in Ireland," Lloyd told skysports.com at an RAC track day at Rockingham.
"I've won a lot of tournaments in Ireland, I was working out I've won about nine different tournaments in Ireland.
"I got a nine-darter to win the Irish Masters in 2006, also I'm obviously a former World Grand Prix winner so obviously the CityWest is a special place for me to go and play."
Whizzing around the Rockingham track is obviously a tad different for Lloyd from his day job, but the darts players also face a unique challenge in Dublin with the double-in format often providing big upsets in the early rounds.
"We play loads of different things around the world," Lloyd added.
"We play 301 and 501 and then there's the double-in in Ireland, but you just adapt to what's put in front of you.
"We've always known that the World Grand Prix is a double start so there's no excuses, if you're missing your doubles you are going to get punished but if you're hitting them you've got a fair chance, so it doesn't bother me one little bit - I like playing it when I'm there but not too often."
With the CityWest Hotel being much smaller than the huge arenas now being used for major darts events, Lloyd clearly enjoys the atmosphere.
"The great thing about the CityWest is the Irish folk," he said. "They create a great atmosphere.
"Although there's not as many of them in there as there is at the Ally Pally or the Premier League they always create a good vibe so it's always a pleasure to go and play there."
Lloyd plays Dutchman Vincent van der Voort in the first round.
"Vincent's a bit of a cagey fella, he's turned me over the last couple of times I've played him, he hadn't beaten me before then - not that will matter one little bit.
"I'm just going to get up there and try to get on top quickly and get through to look forward to the next one."
The reason Lloyd feels so upbeat heading to Dublin is a change in his mentality, which has led to much-improved performances in 2008 including three titles and a nine-darter.
A rise to number seven in the Order of Merit also means that a Premier League return is on the cards.
"This year I've got that oomph back, I'm enjoying the game again and the results are starting to come with that.
"It's a mental thing, I think I've gone back to my old mentality and that's why I'm enjoying myself and when I'm enjoying the game I know I can throw some good stuff so hopefully I can go over to the Grand Prix and have a good battle.
"I'm making a bit of a push to get back in to the Premier League, I'm up to seventh now but there's still a lot of hard work to be done.
"I've been fortunate enough to have played in three of them. It's a great experience, a lot of TV exposure - a lot more people get to see and know more about you.
"But it is tough and it makes your year a lot tougher but if you want to be a professional dart player you need to be prepared to make those sacrifices."
Colin Lloyd was talking at the RAC Everyman Track Day at Rockingham Motor Speedway. For more information on RAC's link-up with Everyman log on to teamrac.co.uk(Source link...)
Sky Poker World Grand Prix DrawJAMES WADE will begin the defence of his Sky Poker World Grand Prix against Tony Eccles next month, while Phil Taylor meets Ronnie Baxter at the Citywest Hotel.
Wade defeated Terry Jenkins to claim the Dublin title last October, and will open up this year's event on Monday October 6 against qualifier Eccles, who will be making his debut in the double-start tournament. (full story...)