Bailey is back to his best for PNE

Preston defender Bailey Wright in action at Deepdale
Preston defender Bailey Wright in action at Deepdale
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Preston North End defender Bailey Wright believes he is getting back to peak fitness after his injury problems of earlier in the season.

The 22-year-old has played PNE’s last four matches and aims to make that five against Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

Wright came back from the World Cup with injuries to both groins but featured in the first two months of the campaign.

He underwent surgery in London in October and made his comeback against Norwich at the start of January.

Later in the month, Wright played in the 2-2 draw with Yeovil but it was the trip to Chesterfield a fortnight ago which signalled the start of his current run in the team.

Wright told the Evening Post: “I feel so much better, much more like my old self.

“It has been quite a while since I’ve felt that way. Physically and mentally I feel really good.

“I was out injured for a few months with the groin problems and wasn’t at my best before that.

“Now, I feel better, stronger, fitter and ready to kick on.

“With every game I play, my fitness improves.

“For all the work you do in training, nothing compares to playing in matches to sharpen your fitness.

“It has been great playing 90 minutes and it is nice to be getting a run of games.

“We’ve got another big game at Oldham on Saturday, another tough one and hopefully I’ll be involved.

“It will be a good atmosphere there – we took a big following last season and I’m sure it will be the same this time.

“Our aim is another win to keep up the pressure on the sides above us.”

Tuesday night’s victory over Walsall was North End’s fourth on the spin in League One.

In among that run was the 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United, a game in which they pushed the Red Devils all the way.

As a centre-half, Wright was pleased with another clean in the Walsall game.

“We took a lot of positives from Tuesday night,” said the Australian.

“If you give yourself a solid platform to build from in terms of a clean sheet, you will get some good results.

“In the first half we played some really good stuff and created lots of chances.

“Once again, the Walsall keeper had a great game as he did in the cup match.

“We had to be disciplined and keep a good shape about us in the second half when Walsall came more into it.

“They aren’t a bad side and play some good football.

“We were hard to break down and that led to a clean sheet.

“At 1-0 down, Walsall had nothing to lose and threw bodies forward.

“We didn’t keep the ball as well as we can do, not like we did against Scunthorpe in the previous game.

“It was a bit closer than we would have liked but a win is a win and we got three points.”

North End’s winner came from Daniel Johnson, the £50,000 January buy from Aston Villa finding the net for the second game running.

Wright said: “Daniel has settled in well and is showing people what he is capable of.

“He will only get better and better, judging by what I have seen from him in training.

“It is great to see Daniel scoring – he is a tidy player who can bring a lot to us.

“Scoring these two goals will have given him a lot of confidence.”

l Saturday’s opponents Oldham saw manager Lee Johnson leave Boundary Park yesterday to take over at Barnsley. Johnson, 33, had been in charge of the Latics for just under two years.