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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Saturday, January 12th 2019

Bailey's back: The 'Wright' road to recovery

Club captain Bailey Wright has returned to action after recovering from an injury-riddled 2018.

He's the cover of today's Well Red matchday programme and reveals all about his journey over the last eight months, missing out on the World Cup and his emotional return to the pitch in 2019.

Read his full interview here and be sure to pick up today's Well Red for all the latest club news ahead of City v Bolton Wanderers (3pm KO).

So Bailey, how does it feel to finally be able to put your injury behind you?

It’s a huge sense of relief. I’m back on the pitch and feeling good and only a few months ago I was struggling to play a game. I’m in a great place, physically and mentally, and physically I feel the best I have for a long time in my career.

In some ways an injury can be a way of resetting the body so I have had to focus on the advantages and I was lucky to have a lot of good people around me to make my time as easy as possible.

How big a moment was it for you when you came on at bet365 Stadium?

Coming on against Stoke City was a bit emotional, actually. I wanted to acknowledge everyone who has helped me in those tough times: the medical staff, strength and conditioning, the coaches, chefs and everyone in the club.

Wright in the thick of the action immediately on New Year's Day

Marlon Pack gave you the armband, just how good a job has he done in that role?

He’s a leader day in, day out and you forget he is still quite young. He could just as easily be the first-choice captain at this team or any other team. He’s taken the responsibility as we knew he would and I look up to him. He’s taken it in his stride and I knew he would.

It meant a lot to me when he came over to give the armband to me. He said ‘welcome back and let’s go and get the result’. We started the new year with the win and a clean sheet so it was perfect.

Did you play through fatigue and injury last season to help City as much as you could in the second half of last season?

There were no regrets. I pushed myself but my body limited me to what I was telling myself I could do. I wanted to help the team, I wanted to play and see where we could go but it took its toll.

Of course I missed out on things in the summer and that may have not just been down to the injury but that’s the way of life. I worked hard for the World Cup, I pushed hard for four years but of course there are no guarantees you will play in the finals.

Thumbs up from the skipper

The Asia Cup is ongoing at the moment, are you cheering the boys on from Bristol?

I missed the first game which they lost so I am gutted for them. I would love to be there but of course I needed to focus on getting fit.

I joined the summer camp in Turkey, met the new manager and I got a great vibe and opinion of him. I’d have loved to be representing Australia in the Asia Cup but it is what it is.

What do you make of the FA Cup draw. We’ll play Bolton again in two weeks' time?

We will know a lot about each other come that game. We know of their quality and both games are difficult.

The immediate focus is on today’s game in the Championship but we will always have belief, especially being at home, and we want to take some momentum into these games.

That winning feeling

And we can extend the unbeaten to double figures today.

We’re looking positive but things can change quickly. The preparation starts weeks and months in advance. Some of the results which went against us didn’t reflect our performances and then we have not played well and got results so it’s about a balance.

I think we are now finding the knack, but we know how tough and difficult this league is and our unbeaten run will count for nothing if we don’t finish the season strongly.

One of your career highlights was moving to England as a teenager, how did that happen?

It’s funny really because it started with an email. My dad emailed the club and I got a trial. Nobody really scouted me, it was just through word of mouth, a friend of a friend. Blackburn Rovers put us up in accommodation and Preston saw me play and went for me. The youth team manager Jamie Hoyland said I was a mini version of him.

What is the collective aim for 2019?

I think we just want to build on what went well last year. There were highlights and a lot of frustrations but on the whole we are a lot more experienced as a result. The play-offs have to be our aim and I think we are more than capable of doing that.

We’re going into the second half of the season, the business end of the season where it matters most. We’re going through a busy spell but we have got stronger and stronger. We can say what we say now though so it is all about the next game and doing what we can one game at a time.

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