PNE defender made of Wright stuff

Bailey Wright is so proud to proud to have worn the captain's armband on his 100th appearance for North End
Bailey Wright is so proud to proud to have worn the captain's armband on his 100th appearance for North End
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Bailey Wright admits that becoming a regular in the Preston North End team was no more than a pipe dream when he first arrived in England.

The Aussie defender made his 100th appearance for PNE in Monday’s goalless draw with Sheffield United.

In the absence of skipper John Welsh and his deputy Keith Keane, the captain’s armband went to Wright.

Although Wright’s debut came in August 2010 as an 18-year-old, it is in the last couple of years when his progress has accelerated.

Monday’s landmark was two years to the day since he made his first league start away at Exeter City.

Wright told the Evening Post: “I often think back to when I first came over as a youth team lad.

“I just wanted to do well and see how things went from there, do my best to try and get a professional contract.

“So to now have played 100 games for a massive club is something I’m very proud of and shows I’m going in the right direction.

“To be honest, when I first arrived I didn’t think I would play that many games.

“I made by debut in the cup at Stockport and then played the odd game here and there.

“It was at left-back where I got my chance and from there I have got myself in the mix and up to 100 games.

“My first league start for Preston was away at Exeter in March 2012.

“I feel I’m a much better player now then I was then, but I’ve still got a lot of improving to do before I get to where I want to be.

“Now that I’ve played 100 games, my focus is on making it 101 against Swindon.

“To be given the captain’s armband topped it off for me and the only thing missing was three points.

“I had worn the armband a couple of times before, but this was very special.”

The only thing to take the edge off Wright’s big night was North End failing to punch their way through a resolute Blades side which defended deep and in big numbers.

“I thought that we played well,” said the 21-year-old.

“We were patient and it is hard to stay patient when sides sit that deep.

“Fair play to them, they had a good shape about them and you can see why they have been on such a good run.

“One of the lads afterwards in the dressing room said ‘even Barca wouldn’t break them down’!

“I had a little chuckle about that but you know what he meant.

“We will keep going in terms of trying to get automatic promotion.

“Our aim is to win as many games as possible and see where we finish.

“You should never give up hope on anything until it becomes impossible.

“Teams can still slip up and others can go on a run, so let’s see what happens.”

Meanwhile, North End drew 1-1 with Blackburn in a friendly at Rovers’ Brockhall training ground.

Iain Hume netted PNE’s equaliser after the home side had taken the lead from the penalty spot. Lee Holmes, Stuart Beavon, Alan Browne and Thorsten Stuckmann were among those to feature.