Australian defender Bailey Wright making an impression at Preston North End

The 19-year-old's switch to left-back has paid off, with the Melbourne product getting an extended run in the Lilywhites' first XI

Bailey Wright is enjoying an extended run in the Preston North End starting XI, with manager Graham Westley revealing the Australian caught his eye as soon as he took the job at Deepdale.

The Melbourne-born has played at the centre of defence for Preston, but it is at left-back where Westley has chosen to deploy the 19-year-old in the past four matches.

Westley took over the Preston post in January, and told The Lancashire Evening Post: "In my first day here, we had an 11-a-side game in training so I could have a look at the players.

"I did actually put Bailey at left-back in one of the teams I picked that day.

"Don't ask me why I did it, but size-wise he probably didn't strike me as a centre-half.

"But he is a strong defender and there was a vacancy at left-back.

"After that first training session, I played him a couple of times in the reserves and Bailey put in sterling performances."

Wright has had to be patient at Preston, who he joined in 2009.  The former Dandenong Thunder junior made his debut for the then-Championship club in 2010-11Carling Cup against Stockport County, making his league debut at the end of that season after featuring among the substitutes on a host of occasions.

He made his first start of the League 1 season in September but has flourished since Westley joined Preston, having struggled for opportunities under former manager Phil Brown.

"I can see his quality as a defender. He puts his body on the line, doesn't give himself up and concentrates on the job," Westley said.

"Bailey is a tidy footballer – being right-footed playing on the left side doesn't cause him any problems.

"He gets across the line and doesn't give anybody anything for nothing.

"When we do play him at left-back, the experience he's gained in the middle will come in useful.

"As a centre-half, he would have been relied upon to man-mark at set-plays, which isn't a bad thing.

"We won’t get carried away with Bailey but well done for some solid performances."

Wright put in another full shift for Preston on Saturday, but could not prevent the Lilywhites from suffering a 2-0 defeat at high-flying Sheffield Wednesday.

He will be hoping to again play a part when Preston - 16th on the League 1 table and with a six-point buffer to the relegation zone - host Milton Keynes Dons on Sunday.

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