The PDC Tour has thrown up some superb darts as the action edges towards the closing stages, but we’ve still got some blockbuster play-offs to come first.

From Saturday to Tuesday, players in groups five to eight will step forward in a bid to book their places in the last eight of the competition, and with some big names involved over the coming days, there could be some surprises along the way. Read on for our preview of the action.

Group Five: Voltage will avoid shock exit

Group Five sees reigning World Matchplay champion Rob Cross in action on Saturday night after he topped his group in the previous stage of the tour. Voltage will be expected to avoid any shocks by overcoming his opponents, but it won’t come all that easy.

Standing in his way this weekend will be the highly rated Ryan Searle, Luke Woodhouse and Daniel Larsson. In Searle and Woodhouse, Cross will face two darts players who have racked up impressive averages on the tour so far, with Woodhouse jumping to stardom after throwing the competition’s first nine-darter.

Voltage comes into this one in indifferent form without an average of above 85 in the competition, but he knows when he needs to turn on the style and is the 10/1 joint-fourth tournament favourite for a reason. Expect him to book his place in the next stage.

Group Six: Cullen moving in for the kill

Sunday night throws up an interesting card as the talented Chris Dobey is joined by the impressive Joe Cullen, accomplished Jeff Smith and group outsider Martijn Kleermaker after he stunned Michael Smith previously. This one might be trickier than meets the eye.

Dobey is favourite for the group after a string of steady performances earlier in the tournament, but Cullen also put in a few superb displays – even beating Gerwyn Price – to raise a few eyebrows. He’ll be one to watch this weekend.

Cullen has surely got to be worth a punt in this group at 7/4 given his impressive showings, and with his experience in the competition already he could well finish top of the pile at the expense of Dobey – but it will be a close fight until the end.

Group Seven: Aspinall all-in for next round

Nathan Aspinall has been picked by many to go all the way in this competition, and it’s his time to shine on Monday evening. The Asp headlines Group Seven alongside Jamie Hughes, Jose De Sousa and Jesus Noguera.

Aspinall, who is the 9/2 outright favourite for the tournament, was largely untroubled from his first three matches in the opening stage to qualify from Group 10 without even getting out of first gear. He still has so much to add to the tournament, and you get the impression that Monday could be the night when everything clicks into place as we enter the business end of the competition.

De Sousa will be hard to shake off too – and at 5/2 to progress from the group he might be the one to cause Aspinall problems. However, it’s hard to see past tournament favourite Aspinall for this one, and he’s likely to top the group at 8/11.

Group Eight: Jonny be good for top spot?

Last but not least, Tuesday night sees Jonny Clayton, Max Hopp, Scott Waites and Carl Wilkinson battle it out for the final spot in the last eight. Clayton is the 11/8 favourite to top Group Eight following his comfortable path so far, but this pool could be one of the tightest we’ve seen.

Clayton could be tested more on Tuesday than he has in the whole tournament, but he is the highest ranked player and will fancy his chances of seeing off Hopp, Waites and Wilkinson. His biggest challenge is likely to come from Germany’s Hopp, but Waites has also showed form that suggests he could still be a contender for top spot. Wilkinson was a surprise group winner leading into this one, so he’ll hope he can replicate that form to make things interesting.

It’s worth going for value here considering things are tight between these players, and PDC newcomer Waites – a former Lakeside champion and Grand Slam of Darts winner – could well use his experiences outside of this tournament to cause an upset. He can be backed at 12/5 to top the group.

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