PNE defender made of the Wright stuff

Bailey Wright is off to join Australia's bid to qualify for the World Cup
Bailey Wright is off to join Australia's bid to qualify for the World Cup
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Preston North End’s international globetrotter Bailey Wright has more work to do before he can put his feet up for the summer and reflect on promotion to the Championship.

The Lilywhites centre-back is in Australia’s squad as they begin their World Cup qualifying campaign later this month.

It is a trip into the unknown for the Socceroos on June 16, when they face Kyrgyzstan - a former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

Wright will fly out to Dubai to meet up with his Australia team-mates next week, with a training camp taking place ahead of the game.

Seeing his season go into extra-time is not a problem for the 22-year-old who is keen to establish himself at international level.

He has three Aussie caps to his name and the step up to the Championship with North End could well help him earn more.

Wright told the Evening Post: “We are in the Asia qualifying section and the first game is against Kyrgyzstan.

“It is near Kazakhstan and China – I suppose it is not a country you will visit too often.

“I’ve got a few days off to have a breather after Wembley and then I fly to Dubai on June 7 to meet up with the boys.

“Having got to the World Cup last year, there is a big incentive to qualify again for 2018.”

It will be a buoyant Wright who swaps club football for the international stage, in light of North End’s promotion at Wembley.

The defender views that as his best achievement in football to date, satisfying all the more as he is the one survivor in PNE’s squad from their relegation in 2011.

Said Wright: “Wembley was something else – winning there was certainly my highest achievement in the game.

“People say that winning at Wembley is the best way to be promoted but you don’t know that until you experience it.

“The beauty of football is that you can go from one extreme to another very quickly.

“We had our lowest point at Colchester at the start of May, then three weeks later we won at Wembley to get promoted.

“You could feel that everyone connected with the club wanted to go to Wembley and win, not just the 11 lads who started the game.

“I think it was clear right from the off that we wanted it that bit more – we knew what it would take to win.

“Swindon are a good footballing team, comfortable on the ball and had threats in their team.

“At the same time, we knew what we had to do in order for us to get chances.”