Sunderland defender on his Stadium of Light future

Bailey Wright says he still feels fresh and sharp as Sunderland head into their 46th league game of the season – with conversations about his contract situation on the back burner.

The Black Cats will head to Morecambe on Saturday knowing a win would secure them a place in the play-offs.

Wright is one of just two outfield players (the other being Ross Stewart) who has started all 14 games since Alex Neil was appointed in February.

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“I’m 29 and my whole professional career has been in England. That’s nothing new to me,” Wright told the Echo when asked about the physical demands of a competitive League One campaign.

Bailey Wright playing for Sunderland.Bailey Wright playing for Sunderland.
Bailey Wright playing for Sunderland.

“I’ve been in seasons where I’ve played 55, 60-odd games, including internationals. I don’t feel tired at all to be honest. I feel quite fresh, mentally sharp, and ready for the challenge. I probably speak on behalf of a lot of the lads.”

Sunderland have been dealt some recent injury setbacks and were without both Carl Winchester and Dennis Cirkin during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Rotherham.

“Of course we’ve had some injuries, and we’re gutted to see that,” added Wright. “But unfortunately that’s the tough side of football that no one wants.

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"We’ve got lads who are itching to get into the team and are ready, and the lads that have come in have shown that they can come in and change games.

"That togetherness, everything that galvanises you as a group, gets you through those moments when you have injuries like Winny and Dennis, who have been brilliant for us, but who unfortunately have missed out in the last couple of games.

"It’s about that togetherness. They want everyone who’s playing in their position now to do just as well as they did. When you feel that in a group, it’s healthy and we’ve got that.”

As one of the senior players, Wright is happy to share advice with younger members of the squad and says there is a positive atmosphere within the group.

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“I’ve always taken responsibility, from when I was younger,” he added “to get the best out of myself and everyone around me.

“I always try to do that in everything I do, whether that’s how I train and apply myself. I know there’s times in the season where I needed my mate to get me out of trouble, and I had my mate there to help me.

"It’s building those relationships, making sure you’re there when younger lads need a bit of advice. But it goes both ways. We all need each other, and there’s a lot of support in the group, which is great.”

Wright is one of the Sunderland players who will be out of contract this summer, yet the focus has simply been on trying to get the club promoted.

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“Those conversations have never happened,” the defender admitted

“They’ve been on the back burner for a while. The focus really has been on each game, winning the next game, and if you do that, things take care of themselves.

"That’s my focus, doing my best for this club. Whenever it is, I’m always ready to give myself, and whatever happens after that will happen, and we’ll deal with it then.”