Preston North End boss Graham Westley has revealed how Bailey Wright caught his eye as a potential left-back from the day he took the Deepdale job.
Although the Australian teenager was back in the centre of defence for much of Tuesday night’s goalless draw at Carlisle, it’s on the left where much of his football has come under Westley.
Wright, 19, started the Brunton Park clash at left-back – as he did at Exeter last Saturday – the early substitution of Daniel Devine seeing him switched inside.
Westley told the Evening Post: “In my first day here, we had an 11-a-side game in training so I could have a look at the players.
“I did actually put Bailey at left-back in one of the teams I picked that day.
“Don’t ask me why I did it, but size-wise he probably didn’t strike me as a centre-half.
“But he is a strong defender and there was a vacancy at left-back.
“After that first training session, I played him a couple of times in the reserves and Bailey put in sterling performances.
“The lad did well in the game at Manchester City – he really impressed me.
“I can see his quality as a defender. He puts his body on the line, doesn’t give himself up and concentrates on the job.
“Bailey is a tidy footballer – being right-footed playing on the left side doesn’t cause him any problems.
“He gets across the line and doesn’t give anybody anything for nothing.
“When we do play him at left-back, the experience he’s gained in the middle will come in useful.
“As a centre-half, he would have been relied upon to man-mark at set-plays, which isn’t a bad thing.
“We won’t get carried away with Bailey but well done for some solid performances.”
The use of Wright at left-back against Exeter allowed Paul Parry to be used in a more natural position on the wing.
Parry was missing from the side at Carlisle because of injury but, looking ahead, a more attacking role is the one Westley has in mind for the Welshman.
The PNE boss said: “Paul has done a very good job filling in at left-back but I’ve always thought that his best position is on the wing.
“He can take the game to people as he’s got pace, power and a great crossing ability.
“He can pin the opposition full-back at home, forcing them to lose a lot down their right-hand side.”
Meanwhile, PNE were hoping to do some business today – both in and out – ahead of the close of the Football League’s loan window at 5pm.
Westley has targets in mind, while a number of players who aren’t in the first-team frame at Deepdale have been made available.
They are thought to include Keammar Daley, Brian McLean, Steven Smith and Seanan Clucas.
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