Bailey set make his 100th appearance for PNE

Bailey Wright
Bailey Wright
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Bailey Wright is set to make his 100th appearance for Preston North End in tonight’s televised clash with Sheffield United at Deepdale.

It is three-and-a-half years since the Australian first pulled on a North End shirt as a teenager.

There have been ups and down for him since then, but in the last two seasons Wright, 21, has established himself as a regular in the defence.

Wright’s task and that of his PNE team-mates this evening will be to halt a Sheffield United side who have been at full throttle in recent weeks.

The Blades have won their last 10 games, climbing the table and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals in the process.

North End are in decent form themselves, unbeaten in 11 league games since January.

However, they need to start turning draws into wins, six of those matches in the unbeaten run having been drawn.

Over the weekend, results elsewhere at the top of League One didn’t go too badly for Preston.

Rotherham stayed behind them in fifth place after a late equaliser earned them a 1-1 draw at home to Walsall.

Above them, Brentford won 1-0 against Leyton Orient to leapfrog their London rivals into second place.

Leaders Wolves were held to a goalless draw at Molineux by struggling Shrewsbury.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson is looking forward to seeing his side do battle with United in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

And he knows that three points are needed to bring the three clubs above them closer into view.

Grayson said: “It has been a strange season for Sheffield United. They had such a poor start and changed manager.

“Nigel Clough has come in and done a fantastic job. It has not happened overnight and he’s needed a bit of time to get his own players in and change the philosophy.

“In the last few weeks they have been hard to beat and resilient.

“They play a counter style of football which has really suited them.

“Even at home they sit back and let teams come on to them, then they hit you on the break.

“They have conceded very few goals and have flown up the table.

“Sheffield United will be looking at the teams above them and thinking if they can get a few more wins, then they could sneak into the play-offs.

“Yet 10-12 games ago it looked like they were going to be staying in the bottom four.

“At the start of the season you would have been thinking of them as a top-six side.

“They have enough good players, some of who I have worked with at other clubs.

“Hopefully their good run can come to an end tonight, but then after that they can pick up some good results against one or two of the sides around us.”

Grayson has a fully fit squad to choose from, a few knocks picked up at Stevenage last Tuesday night having cleared up.

“In terms of selection, it is a case of picking a team for a particular game,” said Grayson.

“That is how we are going to work from now until the end of the season.”