Socceroo mates primed for Wembley battle

Socceroos Bailey Wright and Massimo Luongo are good friends but there will be no quarter given when their clubs meet at Wembley with a place in the Championship on the line.

Swindon Town booked their spot in Sunday’s final with a crazy 5-5 win over League One rivals Sheffield United while Preston North End cruised past Chesterfield.

Wright and Luongo, who are the same age, broke into the national team set-up at the same time and were both non-playing members of Australia’s 2014 World Cup squad.

Wright told FourFourTwo he hasn’t be in touch with his Socceroo teammate since it was confirmed the two clubs would play-off for the final Championship promotion spot.

“I’ve not spoke to him since we both made it into the final, so looking forward to catching up but not until the job’s done,” the Preston defender said.

“I know Mass well and know he will be looking forward to this game too. He’s had a great season and I’m sure it will be a good, tough contest.”

Preston just missed out on automatic promotion by two points after an upset loss on the final day of the regular season to Colchester.

Wright, who has never played at the historic home of English football before, is excited about the final.

“I’m looking forward to the game, getting the chance to play at Wembley in a final doesn’t come around too often so I’m hoping it’s a memorable one,” the 22-year old said.

“The lads are confident are both our away and home leg semi-final games against Chesterfield. We had to bounce back after a disappointing last game of the season and we did that and showed good character.

“We know Swindon play attacking football and are a good side, but we are confident in what we do and what it takes to win the game.”

Preston will be slight favourites in the final after losing just once in their past 10 games and finishing 10 points above Swindon in League One. The Lilywhites are managed by promotion expert Simon Grayson and have the top marksmen in the competition in Joe Garner, who has scored 26 goals in 2014-2015 campaign.

The Lancashire club, who also boast former Socceroo Neil Kilkenny in their ranks, lost to Swindon 1-0 in November but beat the Robins 3-0 at home in April.

Swindon Town started the season strongly, and were one of League One’s frontrunners, but struggled in October and November and eventually finished fourth on the ladder.

Wright describes the Robins as a “good attacking team” and said his side are well aware of the danger that Luongo, the 2015 Asian Cup player of the tournament, poses.

“We won’t concentrate on anyone specifically,” the centre back said.

“We know he is a good player, he’s a good season for both club and country. I obviously know him well after training and playing with him a few times so I can share a few things with the boys.

“Swindon play good attacking football, they shocked a lot of teams in the first half of the season.”