PNE to benefit from Wright’s World Cup adventure

Bailey Wright
Bailey Wright
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Bailey Wright wants to use his World Cup adventure as a platform for a successful season with Preston.

The centre-half was in the Australia squad in Brazil, and while Wright did not play in any of their three games, he gained plenty of experience from it.

Now his attention is firmly focused on North End, with the start of the new season just 10 days away from kick-off.

Wright told the Evening Post: “Being at the World Cup was a great experience and everything I took away from it was unbelievable.

“I learned loads from being with Australia and I will try and use that to become a better player.

“It is difficult to actually put into words just how good the experience was.”

Wright, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Monday, was given some time off after the World Cup, the Australian training regime having been an intense one.

But this is his third week back in training and the 2-1 win over Burnley in midweek was his third pre-season friendly appearance.

Another chance to sharpen up the legs will come against Leicester City at Deepdale on Saturday.

“I came into pre-season a little bit later than the other boys,” said Wright. “The management staff here felt that a little break would do me the world of good.

“I’ve come back feeling fit and my aim is to have a really good season.

“As a team we fell short last season and the disappointment we felt should make us hungry to push on and take that extra step. We have made some good additions to the squad during the summer.

“Last season we had a good season too and we have added to that.

“Hopefully that will give us that added edge to push towards automatic promotion.”

Leicester’s visit at the weekend is North End’s last warm-up game before the season’s opener against Notts County on August 9.

The clash is likely to see a return for former Deepdale favourite David Nugent whose goals helped fire the Foxes to the Premier League.

Said Wright: “Leicester will be another tough one, another good test for us.

“Burnley the other night was a good test but we showed we could compete against them.

“If we can step up another gear and do that week in, week out, then we have a really good chance this season.

“Pre-season is about getting minutes into your legs and working out how you want to play during the season.

“After playing Leicester we then have a clear week to get ready for the Notts County game.”

North End manager Simon Grayson is happy with the progress being made in pre-season.

The win over Burnley was the fifth in six matches, and while results aren’t the main thing at this stage of the summer, they are still welcome.

Grayson said: “The players are showing good fitness levels which is the first thing you are looking for at this moment.

“Certain lads are playing with a lot of confidence and belief, and together as a team we are getting a winning habit which is good to have.

“Pre-season isn’t about results but if you can get that winning feeling it is good to take forward.

“Hopefully we can continue a winning habit for the next nine months.

“If the season was to start now the players would be ready both physically and mentally.

“We have a few things to work on and tweak which we always knew would be the case.

“The last few weeks on the training pitch have been about levels of intensity and fitness.

“Over the next 10 days we will be working on the tactical side of things, the organisation and shape of the team.”

Meanwhile, PNE have reminded fans that season ticket books are available for collection from Deepdale.

About 500 season-ticket holders have yet to collect and they are urged to do so in advance of the Notts County game.