PNE defence eager to prove itself
Bailey Wright says the latest clean sheet kept by Preston North End in their draw at Derby was a hugely satisfying one.
It was their 13th shut-out in the Championship and the point at Pride Park moved them up to 14th place.
PNE came up against a Rams forward line boasting big-money buys Tom Ince and Nick Blackman, together with top scorer Chris Martin.
That trio did not muster an effort on target all game, with Wright, Paul Huntington and Tom Clarke standing firm.
Wright said: “We all played in League One together for the last couple of years and this season has been an opportunity for us prove ourselves at this higher level.
“No matter what back line we put out or whether formation we play, we are all determined to keep clean sheets.
“It was nice to get another clean sheet at Derby and put another point on the board.
“Our shape was good on Tuesday night and we stayed very focused.
“If you look at the statistics in this division for the season, Derby are a side who always have a lot of possession.
“They had a lot of possession against us but what good is it if you can’t get behind a defence to create chances?
“Our aim was to frustrate them and push them into areas where they didn’t necessarily want to play.
“Everyone knows that Derby have spent a lot of money, you look at their squad and it is full of great players.
“They had firepower on the bench too, yet a draw was a fair result for us.
“We even had a few chances at the other end to go and win the game.
“At this stage of the season, we are pleased with our progress and where we are in the division.
“Before the season, we all thought we could stay up and the aim wasn’t necessarily just survival.
“We want to finish as high up the table as we can and that has always been the case.
“As a team, we are not looking down, we are looking above us and seeing who we could catch.
“Steadily we have climbed the table, we will stay level-headed and continue trying to do that.”
North End’s next assignment is a clash against Huddersfield at Deepdale on Saturday.
It is a quick reunion with the Terriers who beat them 3-1 in Yorkshire on Boxing Day.
Wright watched from the bench that afternoon as PNE turned in their poorest show of the campaign.
The 23-year-old said: “It was not a great day for us and we will have to do a lot better against them this time.
“Huddersfield are a team who have maybe changed their system during the season and play some good football.
“We will have to be right on top of our game if we are to get a good result.
“We can take confidence from the Derby game and it will be nice to be back home in front of the fans.
“Hopefully we can continue pushing up the division.”