PNE defender facing Harry’s boys

Bailey Wright played for Australia against Tajikistan yesterday
Bailey Wright played for Australia against Tajikistan yesterday
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Preston North End centre-back Bailey Wright will have Harry Redknapp in the opposition camp when he turns out for Australia next week.

Wright and his Socceroos colleagues cruised through the first part of a World Cup qualifying double header when they beat Tajikistan 7-0 at the Adelaide Oval yesterday.

Next up for the Aussies is a clash with Jordan – who are being coached on a short-term basis by former Tottenham and QPR boss Redknapp.

The game in Sydney is one Wright is looking forward to and victory would push Australia closer to the next stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

On the subject of Redknapp – recently appointed as Derby’s football advisor – taking charge of Jordan, Wright said: “He’s got experience and pedigree .

“I am sure he’ll get them well organised and they will have a threat about them.”

Wright, 23 has steadily established himself at the heart of Australia’s defence over the last few months.

It is less than two years since he had his first involvement in their senior squad, when he was named in their 2014 World Cup squad.

He did not feature at the tournament in Brazil, making his debut a few months later.

Being a regular in the PNE team is helping his chances at international level – he has played the highest number club games this season of the overseas-based players in the Socceroos squad.

Said Wright: “Playing a lot of games is obviously what you want to be doing. I am at a club that has been doing well and is in with a chance of the play-offs.

“It’s always been about trying to get better each season and never standing still and hopefully I’ve been doing that.

“Getting promoted last year was a step up and it’s a credit to our side that we’re on a bit of a run right now.”

Australia’s meeting with Jordan is on Tuesday and Wright will be back in England in plenty of time to prepare for North End’s derby clash at Blackburn a week tomorrow.

The ‘sold-out’ signs went up yesterday afternoon on PNE’s 7000 away allocation.

It will be the club’s biggest away following since a visit to Wigan in April 2000. Preston’s general manager Ben Rhodes said: “It’s a fantastic following.

“Other than play-off finals, it will be our biggest away following in 16 years.

“I remember the amazing atmosphere at Wigan’s JJB Stadium back in April 2000 and this has that sort of feeling about it.

“It will be like a home game for the players and I am sure they are all looking forward to coming out and seeing 7,000 North End fans in the Darwen End – hopefully we can get the result for them.”

Meanwhile, PNE striker Andy Little yesterday joined Accrington Stanley on loan until the end of the season.

The Irishman has not played for North End this season and had a five-game loan spell with Blackpool during the winter, which was cut short by injury.