Preston's Wright says it's all right after fight

Australia defender Bailey Wright never thought he’d witness two teammates turn on each other under the spotlight of the TV cameras – but he insists that harmony has been swiftly restored at Championship club Preston North End.

Sheffield Wednesday v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship

Preston North End's Eoin Doyle, left, and Jermaine Beckford butt heads before both being sent off. Source: CameraSport

Wright, the Lancashire team's longest serving player, was as shocked as anybody when Lilywhites strikers Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford were red carded after scuffling with each other in the dying minutes of last weekend’s 2-1 loss at Sheffield Wednesday.

The club subsequently announced that traveling Preston fans would be reimbursed the price of their tickets from the fines imposed on the feuding pair and who have apologised for their actions.

And Wright - while taken aback by what he saw - doesn't believe long-term repercussions or simmering resentments will carry over to Sunday’s duel against near neighbours Blackburn Rovers or beyond.


“You don't want things like that happening … but it’s happened and we have dealt with it,” insisted the 24 year old centre back of the incident which erupted after Beckford became enraged when Doyle opted not to send him through on goal in the final minutes.

“The two lads have said their piece and they can’t rewind and go back on it now. It’s all been sorted … there’s nothing in it anymore and they are good.

“We were a close bunch of lads. We have an important game against Blackburn on Saturday and that’s where the focus is now."

While it’s a widely held perception that similar bust-ups are common during heated training sessions across the leagues, Wight begged to differ.

“People say it happens in training but I’ve not witnessed anything like that here,” he said.

“It does happen on the odd occasion in life and in this case, unfortunately it happened in the middle of a football pitch.

“It looked worse than it was and that’s unfortunate for them (Beckford and Doyle) and all they can do now is work hard and get themselves back and score some goals ... that’s what you want from them.

“It was all done and sorted the next day … the lads wanted it sorted more than anybody and they have done that.

“They have paid for the people who went to the game ... the fans will be reimbursed and that’s a nice a gesture from them and the club. “ While the Preston futures of a contrite pair appear secure as they serve mandatory three-game bans, Wright’s own path beyond this season remains uncertain with talks over a new contract continuing.

After eight seasons at the club, Wright - whose two-year contract expires in mid-2017 - said: “There’s been that stability since Simon Grayson came in and it’s been good for the club.

“This is the club which gave me my chance at 16 years old and it’s been a home away from home since then for me.

“Talks have been ongoing. It takes time to get things sorted and at the minute I am just enjoying my football and focusing on that.

“We have a great bunch of lads and at the club, but who knows what’s around the corner. Right now it’s just head down and work hard.”

Preston have landed a glamour FA Cup third round tie against Arsenal next month, with Wright relishing going up against an on-fire Gunners side.

“When you get to play against the big boys, it’s want you want ... to test yourself against somebody like Arsenal," he added.

“They have firepower all over pitch, and against teams like that you have to be well organised and on top of your game.

“Whoever I come up against, whether it’s Sanchez or Giroud or whoever else, you know they will be a top player and I am just looking forward to test really.”

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4 min read
Published 8 December 2016 at 10:23pm
By Dave Lewis