Wright close to joining PNE’s 200-club

Preston North End's Bailey Wright

Preston North End's Bailey Wright

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Bailey Wright will join Preston North End’s 200 club once he is back from a sodden trip to the Far East.

Last Saturday’s 3-1 victory at Rotherham United was the defender’s 199th appearance in a PNE shirt.

Wright is currently in a very wet Bangkok preparing for Australia’s World Cup qualifier against Thailand.

That game takes place on Tuesday, with the Socceroos having arrived early for a training camp in order to get themselves acclimatised to the humid conditions.

Wright has joined-up with Australia on the back of North End’s good form.

Since regaining his place in the team at Bournemouth on September 23, he has played nine games and only been on the losing side twice.

The one game which the centre-back missed was last month’s 2-2 draw at Brighton.

He was on the bench for that one, having had a long flight back from Australia after the last international break.

Reflecting on PNE’s form, Wright said: “It has been good.

“We found it difficult at the start of the season.

“That can happen because you are getting to grips with new teams you are facing and getting to know new players in your squad.

“We have got ourselves going, got on a good run and have started to climb the table.

“Over the last month, we had a good run against some of the sides at the top and we hope to continue that form.

“They say the second season in a division can be the toughest and we have to make sure we make it a better season than it was last time when we did very well.”

Wright will be looking to win back a starting place in the Australia team.

He was an unused sub for their two qualifiers last month, having missed the September internationals because of a toe injury picked-up in the early weeks of the season.

Next week’s clash with Thailand comes in the second group phase of qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

One of their first training sessions in Bangkok this week was done on a flooded pitch following heavy rain.

Wright, in an interview with the Australian media, said: “This is their winter so they told us.

“It’s warm and humid and quite rainy but we’ve experienced those conditions before.”

Wright, 24, is yet to agree a new contract with North End.

He was among a number of players who the club started talks with during the autumn.

The clock is starting to tick, with his current deal running until June 2017.

If a new deal is not struck, he would have the option of being able to leave on a Bosman in the summer.

Meanwhile, Preston boss Simon Grayson has missed out on the Championship manager of the month award.

Grayson was on a four-man shortlist for the honour but Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez won it after the Magpies recorded five league victories out of five in October.