PNE star draws the positives

Bailey Wright goes close to scoring with a header
Bailey Wright goes close to scoring with a header
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Bailey Wright felt that Preston North End were good value for their draw against Middlesbrough and had the chances to take all three points off the Teessiders.

lthough the Sunday lunchtime clash finished goalless, there was plenty of entertainment for a crowd of 15,974.

Both sides created chances but the better ones fell to North End with Wright, Will Keane and Joe Garner all going close.

Wright said: “We can all come away from the game really pleased with the performance.

“There were some great chances to win the game but it just wasn’t to be I guess.

“Middlesbrough are one of the favourites to get promoted to the Premier League, so to draw with them was a good way to start the season and a good test for us.

“We had worked hard in our preparation for the game, we were organised and disciplined, kept a good shape.

“John Welsh did a great job on Stewart Downing which was an important part of the game.

“I’m happy with a draw but we could quite easily have got a win.

“It was quite nice to play on Sunday after being able to watch all the scores from the other games come in the day before.

“Watching those games made us even more hungry to get our season up and running.

“It was a good day to play, the weather was good and there was a great atmosphere with nearly 16,000 in the ground.”

Wright played in a familiar-looking back three with Tom Clarke and Paul Huntington.

Either side of them were new boys Marnick Vermijl and Greg Cunningham in wing-back roles, the pair joining keeper Jordan Pickford and striker Keane in making their PNE debuts.

Wright said: “I thought the new lads did really well.

“We are a good bunch here in that new signings find it easy to settle in and feel at home.

“Four lads made their debuts and they will only get better the more time they are with us.

“I thought Marnick and Greg both pushed up well from the wing-back positions .

“At half-time we spoke about getting the wing-backs further up the pitch so that they could either get crosses into the box or draw defenders out of position to allow others to find room.

“Both of them set up chances which on another day might have gone in.”

For Wright, Sunday’s game marked a return to the second tier after four years away.

He was a teenager when PNE were relegated in 2011, Wright on the bench as a substitute the day they went down.

“I had a brief taste of what this division was all about four years,” said the 23-year-old.

“It was only on the bench back then and I think I have come a long way since –I feel like I’m a much better player.

“I’ve still got a lot to learn about the Championship and I have belief in my ability.

“We have plenty of players who have played at this level of football before and having their experience around will help me settle into the league.”

It is a quick return to action for North End on Wednesday night when they head to Gresty Road to take on Crewe in the first round of the Capital One Cup.

Said Wright: “We want to build on this performance and do well in the cup.”