Sunderland boss sends strong message to Wigan Athletic: 'I’ve got zero appetite to lose Bailey Wright'
Lee Johnson has urged Bailey Wright to play his way into a new contract at the club.
Wright's future at the club has at times been in doubt over the summer, with strong interest from Wigan Athletic in the experienced centre-back.
Though his gametime has been affected in the opening weeks by a groin injury sustained in pre-season, he yet again produced an assured cameo from the bench on Saturday afternoon as the Black Cats sealed an important win over AFC Wimbledon.
Johnson believes Wright is back to his best after an injury-hit season last time out.
The Sunderland head coach has admitted over the course of the summer that discussions around the Australian's future have taken place over the summer, but on Saturday again stressed his desire to keep him at the club.
“I’ve got zero appetite to lose Bailey Wright," Johnson said.
"Bailey has just had a beautiful little baby, and he’s only got a year left on his contract and there was interest, so naturally that’s going to spark up a thought process about where his future lies.
"But I’ve personally been extremely consistent in the desire to keep Bailey. He’s got to get in the team and play well, and then hopefully we can extend his contract. It’s as simple as that.
"I’ve seen the best of Bailey Wright, and obviously we’ve got to see that as much as possible, and I think we have this season.
"I think he’s had a good pre-season under his belt, a good off-season, and he’s worked hard with his injuries.
"He’s trusted as a captain of the club."
While eager to make additions in other areas of the pitch before the transfer window closes, Johnson has stated that he is currently pleased with his depth of options at centre-back.
Tom Flanagan and Callum Doyle have formed an effective partnership in the early weeks of the season, while West Ham United loanee Frederik Alves should soon make his debut.
The Black Cats hope Arbenit Xhemajli could be able to play a part in the second half of the campaign as he recovers from a major knee injury.