PNE defender going the Wright way

Bailey Wright

Bailey Wright

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Bailey Wright – the boy from Down Under – could be feeling on top of the world in the coming weeks.

The Preston defender will tonight be chasing play-off success as PNE head across the Pennines for their second-leg meeting with Rotherham.

Wembley awaits the winners from the New York Stadium clash and – fingers crossed – it will be North End making their first journey there since 1994.

Beyond that, 21-year-old Wright is chasing a dream on a global scale.

He was named this week in Australia’s provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil.

That will be trimmed first to 27 and then down to 23, and Wright is desperate to make the final cut.

If he goes to Brazil and plays, he would be the first Preston player to do so at a finals since Sir Tom Finney in 1958.

For Wright to have got to within sight of the World Cup is a wonderful story.

It is only five years ago that he landed on these shores as a teenager chasing his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

The kid from Melbourne got a trial at Preston and he caught the eye sufficiently to be offered terms. His first-team debut came a year later in a League Cup tie at Stockport.

But it was not until the back end of the 2011/12 season that Wright got a regular run in the PNE side.

There is a sense of irony in the fact that it was Graham Westley who gave him that run, but then transfer-listed him in May 2012. The decision to list him was soon reversed and since then Wright has been a regular at the heart of Preston’s defence, winning the young player of the year award 12 months ago.

His Socceroos call-up has come despite him not having played international football since Under-17s 
level.

A strong display in front of the television cameras tonight would be timely, both from a North End and an Australian perspective.