PNE on the Wright track
Bailey Wright believes that Preston North End’s form over the last two months has laid down a marker for next season.
Five wins, five draws and just two defeats in the last 12 games have lifted North End into the safety of mid-table after their winter flirtation with the relegation zone.
Centre-half Wright says such a run shows what the squad is capable of, and the challenge ahead is to maintain it moving into the 2013/14 campaign.
PNE’s next test is their home game against Tranmere on Saturday, the visitors heading for Deepdale in search of three points to reignite their flagging play-off challenge.
Wright told the Evening Post: “Our form has been consistent recently and we have set a marker for next season.
“It’s that consistency we need throughout next season and if we do that, we’ll put ourselves in a strong position.
“We’ve been enjoying getting the better results and being harder to beat, and hopefully we can push on.
“In the last week or so we’ve had back-to-back home wins, and an away draw which could have been a win.
“Now we’re looking forward to coming back to Deepdale at the weekend and playing a good Tranmere side.
“They’ll be aiming to get back into the play-offs and we’ll be looking to upset them and keep up our good run.
“Of course the play-offs are beyond us, but we can enjoy the challenge of playing sides who can still get in them or are already in those positions.
“Tranmere have shown this season that they are a good side and have been up towards the top of the table all the time.
“We should have won at their place in October but they got a late equaliser, so that’s something we want to put right.”
PNE’s scorer in that reverse fixture at Prenton Park was Paul Huntington, with whom Wright has formed an effective centre-back partnership since Simon Grayson was appointed Preston manager.
And Wright is enjoying being part of a defence which has shipped only six goals in the last 12 matches.
The 20-year-old Australian said: “It’s been nice keeping so many clean sheets and that’s testament to the whole back five and the lads in front of us.
“Paul Huntington got nominated for the League One Player of the Month award, which was recognition for how he’s been playing.
“I’ve been quite pleased with how my own form has been but I’m always looking to get better.
“The work which has been done with the defence since the manager came in has been a bit different.
“They haven’t filled our heads with too much stuff, just worked on certain things which they want us to do.
“We work hard on keeping our shape but we’re also told to trust ourselves and organise ourselves.
“On a personal level I think I’ve pushed on this season and I’ve now played more than 50 games for Preston.
“I got a bit of a run in the side towards the end of last season and I’ve taken that on this time.
“It has felt good to be part of things and I’m going to enjoy these last three games.”