Bailey Wright has spoken about how the squad is coming together for the upcoming season which has seen the Lads get off to a decent start and what the expectations and chances are for promotion this season back to the Championship.
"Expectations we set among ourselves in the dressing room, the fans' expectation and the club's expectation is promotion. The most important thing is the expectations that we put on each other to achieve those goals day in, day out - which are the same goals. The rewards come and our performances in the games have been good and we just haven't got the goals we deserved. If we play like that week in, week out then we will get the goals. Every day we come in and have the same philosophies we want to work on and that doesn't change game to game, it's very much for the whole season. We've showed what we're about but there's a long way to go and a lot of games to concentrate on. From when I came in on loan first of all, we started building partnerships and relationships on the pitch and off the pitch, which I think is important. We've got a great group of lads here, a great atmosphere and a great culture and that runs off the pitch. That helps get the best out of yourself and the best out of your teammates. But whoever comes in and has that shirt, we've got real competition for places which is also the key to success. You know if you're not at it then someone else can easily take your shirt wherever that is on the pitch. We have a good culture, a good group of lads on and off the pitch, and we all want the same thing. I'd back us to score in every single game we play so if we can keep a clean sheet and do our jobs it's going to give us a great platform to go into games."
He also spoke about our victory at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday: "You could say that with our first win, but we knew it was going to come, it's an away win which is even nicer because you get on the coach and have a nice journey back and I guess you could say there's a weight lifted off there because when you have that journey back when you lose, it's not nice and you can dwell on it. We've had good performances and not got the win, so it's nice to get both and now we keep building and keep getting stronger and stronger. Fortunately we get to see that day in, day out and see that sort of stuff happen and see the quality. Those two got the rewards with the goals on Saturday and I think we had a few other chances. We looked solid and we created chances, we looked on song is how I would say. There could have been other goals and there is quality throughout the team. It's good to see players coming on and making a difference in the game. I thought I had scored too, I thought I'd done everything. Bloody crossbar! But when you have someone like Chrissy [Maguire] with deliveries like that, you just have to go and attack that ball because you know the delivery is going to be spot on - and it was. On another day maybe it goes in, and I'm sure there'll be many more chances. It would have been nice to score but I'm happy with the clean sheet. I think as a back three, back five - with Burgey included in goal - and as a team, we pride ourselves on being solid and a tight defensive unit. When you come to a place like Oxford, which is a tough place to come and keep a clean sheet, you know we have the quality to score goals which we saw on Saturday. That's our job, we're here to give a platform for the boys to have the magic to go and do their bit. If you can do that, then you're in with a chance in every game."
Wright also spoke about the COVID situation and how it has been affecting fans, "It doesn't surprise me that there were some Sunderland fans down there (Oxford), we've got some dedicated supporters here at the club and it's a massive fan base, isn't it? Hopefully it won't be long until they're back on the touchline screaming, shouting and enjoying it so of course I miss having the fans there. It can really be the difference and you can see games shift sometimes in terms of atmosphere - for the better and for the worse. We much prefer it when we have our fans at home, and the fans we bring away make a big difference. You do miss that, of course you do, but it's another challenge and we just have to get on with it and make sure we're there for each other, keep each other organised and motivated, because you can't rely on that atmosphere to pick you up or keep you going. You've got to get the best out of each other. Hopefully it's not too much longer, but who knows? The world has strange stuff going on and we're just fortunate we can be back playing football and back winning games and enjoying it."
Speaking on his new role at the club, he said "It's an honour to be vice-captain of the group, To have had the armband on and to represent a club like Sunderland, out there with your teammates and having that responsibility, is something I never take lightly. It's something I always have pride in and it's something I enjoy the responsibility of. We've got great leaders in the dressing room and it's nice to be able to add to that and have that added responsibility."