Bailey Wright believes that the international break provided the perfect antidote to Sunderland’s poor form and that was clear for all to see in their victory over Ipswich Town.
The pressure was mounting on Lee Johnson in the build-up to the match which could have seen the Black Cats’ losing streak extend to five games. Wright came back into the side having not started a league game since the beginning of October and gave his thoughts on the improved performance when he spoke to the Sunderland Echo.
He said: “International breaks can come at a funny time.
“It came at a good time for us to go back to the drawing board, work on a few things and just become a bit more difficult to beat and just have a bit more compactness about our play.
“I think we showed that against a good Ipswich side who are a free-scoring team. I think to a man everyone dug in and at times it wasn’t pretty but we wanted to win that game and needed to win it regardless of how we played.”
Tom Flanagan was dropped to the bench after coming back from international duty with Northern Ireland and may find it difficult to earn his spot back ahead of their trip to Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday evening.
Quiz: Have Sunderland ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?
In tough times you need leaders and players with experience to step up to the plate. That is exactly what the Black Cats have in Bailey Wright, the Australian has split opinion amongst the fan base in recent months, and was rumoured for a potential exit late on in the summer transfer window, but his CV speaks for itself and makes him a viable option at the heart of defence in League One.
Wright is a player that Lee Johnson knows well from his time at Bristol City and so it was not too much of a surprise to see him to lean on someone he trusts in such a crucial encounter. It will be interesting to observe if Wright keeps his place for the trip to Shropshire.