Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has tipped Bailey Wright to feature from the start in the Black Cats’ trip to Fleetwood this weekend in the absence of Tom Flanagan.
The Lowdown: Wright is an experienced head at the back for Sunderland
Becoming an important squad player in the northeast, the Australian has made 51 appearances during his time at the Stadium of Light, scoring twice [Transfermarkt].
He has previously earned high praise for his impact at Sunderland, once being labelled as a ‘great signing’ by his former manager Phil Parkinson [The Northern Echo].
He has now been tipped to get the nod for the Wearsiders’ trip to Fleetwood this weekend, with defensive counterpart Flanagan suspended for the clash.
Should Bailey Wright start on Saturday?
The Latest: Phillips believes Wright should get the nod versus Fleetwood
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Football Insider, former England striker Phillips was very complimentary about the Australia international
He said: “100 per cent Wright starts. It will be a straight swap. Bailey Wright came on at the weekend when they were trying to shut up shop so he’s got minutes under his belt.
“It’s a big blow losing Flanagan because he’s formed a great partnership with Doyle. They really compliment each other well.
“They have an understanding. Their distances are always spot on. They look tight. The back four on the whole look like a good unit.
“I think it will be a straight swap with Bailey Wright and I have no problem with that because he has experience and leadership qualities. The minutes at the weekend will have really helped him. Hopefully he has got rid of that rustiness.
“He’s shown that he is a top defender. We saw that before he got injured at Oxford last season. He’s a great player to have in the background and it’s a big opportunity for him to stake his claim in the starting XI again.”
The Verdict: Wright should start for Sunderland on Saturday
Rightfully, Phillips points to Wright’s experience and ability to lead the backline as a key factor as to why he should get the nod this weekend.
So far this season, the 29-year-old has made seven appearances for Lee Johnson’s men in all competitions [Transfermarkt]. His most impressive quality within this timeframe has been his capability to sniff out danger, averaging 4.5 clearances per game thus far in the current campaign [WhoScored].
As the Black Cats gear up for another crucial battle in the context of their promotion aspirations, Wright may well be the best option at centre-half as they aim to shut out the Fleetwood attack.
In other news, a significant clause has appeared in a Sunderland players contract. Find out more here.
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