Defender Bailey Wright says the environment in the Caltex Socceroos is making him a better player and is confident the extended training camp will help get the desired result against Thailand.
The squad will have more than a week together ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Bangkok, valuable time to prepare for what looms as a tricky test against the desperate Thais.
A crowd of around 60,000 is expected at the Rajamangala Stadium on the outskirts of Bangkok, with steamy - and potentially stormy - conditions forecast for the clash.
But it’s something Australia is ready for as they look to secure another three points and take another step towards Russia 2018.
“We’ve got here early and we adapt to the weather conditions as soon as possible. This is their winter so they told us,” Wright told FFA TV.
“It’s warm and humid and quite rainy but we’ve experienced those conditions before, it’s nothing new and it will be a big atmosphere as well.
“But it’s what you enjoy about football, going away to these countries and experiencing something new and different. It’s a challenge but a challenge you want to step up to.
“They [Thailand] have not had the greatest of starts but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good team. We’ll give them the respect they deserve.”
Wright has been a part of the Australian squad since the very first qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek almost 18 months ago and says the prospect of going to another World Cup is feeling more real with each victory.
“If you look back to then it feels like quite a while ago and then you look how close we are now,” he said.
“We’ve still got a lot of hard work to do, some tough games but we believe in ourselves and know what we’re capable of. We’ve worked hard to get where we are now and believe in what we’ve done.
“We’ll keep doing that and that will get us over the line and that would mean another World Cup for us which would be amazing.”
Coach Ange Postecoglou has excellent options in central defence, with Wright alongside Trent Sainsbury and Matthew Spiranovic, while Mark Milligan and Milos Degenek can also slot in there.
“It’s what you want in football whether it’s club or international. No one wants an easy ride,” the 24-year-old said of the competitions for places in central defence.
“That’s the healthy thing with this squad, no-one’s position is safe. Whether you have got the shirt or not, you have to work really hard to get it and that’s what bonds for a successful team.”
Wright has arrived in camp full of confidence after a good run of form in the English Championship with Preston North End.
After a slow start, the Deepdale club have surged to 11th on the table and just outside of the playoff places, with the Melbourne-born defender starting 12 of 16 games in the league for the Lillywhites.
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