City farewell salute for Smith
Posted: Sunday, August 9th 2020
Tuesday, November 21st 2017
World Cup-bound Bailey Wright is back in contention for Tuesday night after serving a two-game suspension.
Preston North End travel to Ashton Gate for the 7.45pm kick-off, for the first time since last season's 5-0 victory over Lee Johnson's side.
And City skipper Wright could make his first club start after receiving a retrospective two-match ban for an off-the-ball incident against Fulham.
Since then he has also been involved with Australia, who beat Honduras 3-1 in a two-legged play-off final tie to earn their place at next summer's World Cup - their fourth consecutive appearance on football's biggest stage.
Speaking to BCTV, he said: "It's frustrating to have been suspended for two games but it's done and dusted now and I'm back, ready for selection.
"The last few results have been good, the boys have done really well. Competition for places is nice and strong and that's what you want. I'm back, ready and fit if selected so I am looking forward to the game.
"It was a special feeling, a bit of relief as well because we did it the long way but looking back on it it's much more enjoyable doing it the long way in the end as long as you do it. It was a great, very special international break, so lucky with me I got to share it with friends and family in Australia and with all the boys.
"It's been a long path. Our aim was never just to qualify; our aim was to qualify and be ready for a World Cup and to compete against any side so that's what we're looking for now.
"The celebrations are done and dusted, still feels fresh and special but the focus is now back with Bristol City and to make sure things go well here. Hopefully that works out and I'm ready for a World Cup."
Wright, 25, spent seven-and-a-half years at Deepdale before making the move south to BS3. It was Preston North End who signed the Melbourne-born player off the back of one training session, when Wright was just 16 and living on the other side of the world.
He said: "I had a great time at Preston. A long chunk of my career was spent there. I played against them as well last year which wasn't memorable but again they are doing well this year, they are a good side with a lot of good, young players who play good football.
"They come here and we're high on confidence, everything is going well for us so we're prepared we can get the job done against them.
"For me it's no different to any other game. Obviously I spent a lot of time there but again any game your prepare for, you prepare the same and I'll be doing that.
"I want to beat anyone who comes in front of us and that hurt me last year. I would be lying if I said it didn't but that's football. I think that was a bit of a kick in the right direction for us last season."
The Lilywhites beat City 5-0 at Deepdale in April - the last time these two teams met.
Wright continued: "We are a completely different outfit to what we were then, both on and off the pitch. There's been a culture change you could say. They are coming to Ashton Gate which we have made a fortress this year and that won't change tomorrow.
"Because of the international break it feels like a while so since we played here. Cardiff was our last game which was a nice result so it's nice to get back on home soil.
"Under the lights is always extra special. A bit of extra wet on the surface suits us and under the lights, so I'm sure we will have another good crowd as we have done all season. It feels like we haven't played at home for ages so the lads are buzzing to get out there."
City head into the tie, knowing they could extend their unbeaten run to six matches. Since that Preston defeat in April, City have played 26 matches, losing just three times. Preston are winless in their last seven games but a win would take them within a point of the play-offs.
WHAT HE SAID
"They are coming to Ashton Gate which we have made a fortress this year and that won't change tomorrow."
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