Bailey Wright: It's been tough

Australian centre back Bailey Wright says it is a relief to have been cleared of spot-fixing charges and admits it has been a tough few months for the Preston North End defender. 

Wright was arrested with five Lilywhites teammates in April this year following allegations the group had been deliberately seeking to get yellow cards in games.

The six were released on bail and never charged, and at the end of July Preston North End was informed that they are no longer under any suspicion.

“It wasn’t a nice few months and it wasn’t a nice thing to have,” Wright said.

“But it’s come out now that we’ve been cleared of bail and everything like that. It’s just nice for people to be aware now of what the situation is. It wasn’t a nice few months at all.”

Wright enjoyed a stellar 2013-2014 campaign, making 51 appearances for Preston and helping them into the playoffs, as well as forcing his way into the Socceroos’ World Cup squad. But the 22-year old admits dealing with the spot-fixing link was difficult at times.

“It’s never a nice thing to be linked with or have your name associated with, that’s for sure,” Wright said.

“Like anything, some people want to read into it too much and some chose not to. I’d like to think I didn’t let it affect me too much at all, but at the same time I think it’d be silly to say that. At the end of the day it’s not nice to be put alongside things like that.”

The defender has made 110 appearances for Preston since breaking into the first-team in 2010 and is preparing for another fruitful season.

“Pre-season was a bit of shorter one than I’m used to but it was still pretty hard and we had plenty of good games,” Wright said.

“Now the real stuff begins and it’s one we look forward to. I played a lot of games last year and I hope to do the same this year.”

Wright was a regular fixture in Simon Grayson’s XI as the Lilywhites finished fifth in League One and made the playoffs, eventually losing to Rotherham United who were promoted to the Championship.

The Langwarrin junior wants to help Preston push for promotion and a Socceroo debut beckons.

“Last year from a personal level was a pretty good year for myself,” Wright said.

“For club, we fell a bit short of getting promotion which is something that’s made us more hungry and more aware of what we want to do this year which is go and get automatic with Preston.

“Promotion is our aim this year after falling short last year. For myself it’s try and get myself as involved as much as I can with the national team. I had a taste for it, it was a great experience, but I know I want to continue on and to do that you have to become a better player and make sure you’re in a successful team as well.”

Preston kicks off their League One season against Notts County at Deepdale on August 9.

“I’m fit and ready to go,” Wright said.

“I’m looking forward to the start of the season. This is obviously where it all matters, it’s a long season, it’s not just about the first game but you want to make sure you make a good impression in the league and get yourselves off to a good start.

“Promotion’s never easy and you need to win as many games as you can. Our first game of the season’s at home and a good way to start the year. Notts County are going to be a tough team, they’ve added to their squad over the summer and I’m sure there’s going to be a few teams with fresh faces.”