KING of the clean sheets Bailey Wright is edging closer to another World Cup adventure with Australia.
The Preston defender has been an integral member of the North End defence which has registered six successive shut-outs in the Championship.
And he has maintained that habit over the international break by helping the Socceroos collect 3-0 and 4-0 World Cup qualifying victories over Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh respectively.
Wright has spent the past 720 minutes plus stoppage time on the pitch without conceding a goal.
It has seen his club rise up the table and his country go top of their qualifying group.
After Jordan were beaten by Kyrgyzstan this week, the Socceroos are now masters of their own destiny.
They are just two wins away from booking their place in the final phase of Asian World Cup qualifying for Russia 2018.
Wright – who was a member of the Socceroos squad which travelled to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil although he never made an appearance on the pitch – is pleased that he has taken his impressive club form on to the international stage.
“Any defender will tell you that your first job is to stop the goals going in, and if you can do that your confidence is going to grow,” Wright said. “Fortunately for me, we have not conceded a goal at club level for quite a while, and to do it again for the Socceroos is nice.”
Originally from Melbourne, Wright joined Preston as a 16-year-old and has progressed through the ranks at Deepdale.
He won his first international call-up last year and has since gone on to establish himself, winning eight caps.
“For me it’s nice to be out there playing for Australia and to be given a chance,” he said.
“I want to get used to having that shirt and enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, Wright’s defensive partner Calum Woods has signed a new two-year contract with the club.
The utility man has proven to be valuable acquisition by manager Simon Grayson since arriving at Deepdale in the summer of 2014.
After starting this season out of the team, Woods has been an integral member of the PNE defence, which has performed so admirably over the past few weeks.
“I’m delighted to have signed a new deal with the club and I’m looking forward to the next couple of years,” Woods (above) said.
North End manager Simon Grayson said: “Calum is the type of player managers love to have in their squads.
“Wherever you ask him to play, he will do a good job.”