No Oz call for PNE star Bailey

Bailey Wright
Bailey Wright
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Preston North End defender Bailey Wright says he is disappointed not to be with the Australia squad in London this week.

The 21-year-old had been tipped for a call-up by the Socceroos who play Ecuador in a friendly at Millwall’s New Den ground tomorrow night.

But he was not included in the 23-man squad for the game which is part of the Australian’s build-up to this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Wright told the Evening Post: “Obviously there is some disappointment on my part.

“I thought that I was in with a decent enough chance as the club are doing well and I feel I’ve been playing fairly well.

“It wasn’t to be and I’m not going to get too down about it.

“I will keep concentrating on things here and hopefully that will all sort itself out one day.”

Wright and his North End team-mate Neil Kilkenny were watched by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou in January’s goalless draw at Bradford.

That was a night in which Kilkenny – holder of 14 Aussie caps – was sent-off early in the game, the midfielder later successfully appealing the red card.

Time is of course on Wright’s side when it comes to future international honours.

But as far as making the World Cup in June, his chances don’t look too strong with him overlooked for the Ecuador friendly.

Wright’s focus this week will instead be on preparing for North End’s visit to Oldham on Saturday.

The centre-half insists that automatic promotion remains the aim at Deepdale despite a play-off place looking more likely at the moment.

Said Wright: “There is still a lot of football to be played and we want to finish as high as possible which is automatic promotion.

“The play-offs are there too and that is where we are at the moment.

“But we don’t want to settle for the play-offs and we have to make sure we win our games and hope the teams above us slip up.

“Finishing in the top two is feasible, it is no one’s yet and we are confident that we can still be amongst it.”

While Wright has missed out on a possible international cap this week, PNE team-mate Scott Wiseman won’t be involved for Gibraltar in their friendly against Estonia

Wiseman has pulled out of the squad as his partner is due to give birth any day.

Meanwhile, North End have allowed youngsters Will Hayhurst and Steven James to stay out on loan.

Their youth loans at York and Nantwich have been extended through to the end of the season, although they can be recalled at 24 hours’ notice.

Hayhurst’s first month at York has gone well, with the Minstermen unbeaten in five of the six games which the winger has played for them.

That run has shot the Minstermen up the League Two table.

Goalkeeper James joined Nantwich last month after having a successful loan spell at Bamber Bridge earlier in the campaign.

He signed for the Dabbers as replacement for Jack Cudworth – a coach at PNE’s academy – who moved to Bangor City.