Bailey looking for Wright start against Middlesbrough

Socceroo defender Bailey Wright says Preston North End is setting its sights high and is aiming for a play-off berth in its first season back in the Championship.

Preston was promoted from League One after smashing Swindon Town at Wembley in the play-off final.

The Lilywhites kick off the new campaign on Sunday with Middlesbrough visiting Deepdale.

Wright told FourFourTwo Australia that Preston doesn’t just want to stay in the Championship but push hard to make it into the Premier League.

Several clubs, including Norwich and Southampton, have secured back-to-back promotions in recent seasons.

“Most people say when you’ve been promoted you want to be stay up, but it’s obvious with our mentality we don’t really think like that,” Wright said.

"You go into every game wanting to win and you set those standards high. Us personally I’d say we’re looking to push for the playoffs.

“We know it’s a tough league and there’s going to be tough times but they’re will also be good times, that’s how football goes. But we know we set our sights high.

“It’s happened a few times, Norwich have done it as well. It goes to show if you got the right squad of players, and players with the right mentality and set those standards and it spreads throughout the squad, it doesn’t matter what league you’re in.

“Anything’s possible. Teams like Norwich have done back-to-back promotions, Southampton have done it. You look at Southampton now who a real force in the Premier League.

“There’s proof there that it can be done and it fills teams like us with confidence.”

The centre-back is under no illusions how difficult life will be in the Championship for the Lilywhites.

“There’s some great quality in the Championship and players who can punish you if you’re not on the top of your game,” Wright said.

“We know it’s going to be a tough challenge but we’ve got a good squad and a good bunch of players that know the Championship and have been in the Championship before.

“We’re confident in ourselves and the people around the place, we’re confident we can do well in the Championship.”

Wright signed a contract extension with Preston last month, tieing him to the club until the end of 2017. A permanent fixture in the starting XI, the 23-year old has been with the Lilywhites since 2009 and is now the club’s longest serving player.

“I’m delighted to get that done and dusted and looking forward to the next few years ahead,” Wright said.

“It was an easy decision for myself. I’ve been here six years and I love the place. There was never a thought of leaving or offers anywhere else. As soon as they said they wanted to get me tied down to a longer deal I was more than happy to get it sorted.

“I had a season left but I never really looked to go anywhere else. I’d achieved what I wanted as a team and as a club, what we set out to achieve, to get into the Championship and now I’m looking forward to giving the Championship a good crack as is everyone at the club.

“With football people come and go and things change. Players changer, managers change, and I think this is the most stability the club’s had since I’ve been at the club. Hopefully there’s a few more boys who stick around with the club like I do.

“It fills you with confidence to know they think you’re good enough for the Championship as well. The manager’s been here for a few good years now, everyone knows what he’s about and we’ve all formed relationships and we know what’s expected and what the game-plans are.

“It’s an enjoyable place to be and an enjoyable place to play your football.”

Wright was troubled by a groin complaint last season but is at full fitness for the new season. The stopper made 33 appearances in the 2014-2015 campaign and is expected to start against Boro.

“It’s a massive one, they were so close to going up to the Premier League last season and they’ll be one of the favourites this year,” Wright admitted.

“It’s a good test for us. Pre-season’s been tough as all pre-seasons are but enjoyable as well. You put in the hard work, get fitter and stronger and make us all prepared for the weekend.

“This time last year was groin was giving me a lot of grief to be honest, pre-season wasn’t what it should have been for myself. I feel much better this year. I had the operation last year and to get through a full pre-season and feel much fitter and stronger than I did last year.

“Hopefully it will give myself a good chance to have a good season.”