Doncaster Rovers: No surprise for Wright at success of Baudry partnership
It was a partnership that never really seemed would have the chance to blossom.
And it was one boss Darren Ferguson suggested he did not particularly fancy either.
But circumstances meant Joe Wright and Mathieu Baudry simply had to succeed as a duo – and they have done just that.
Injuries to Andy Butler, Andy Boyle and Tom Anderson left the pair as the only fit recognised centre halves at the club.
Rather than it being a case of work with what you have, the Wright-Baudry partnership has thrived.
And even with Butler, Boyle and Anderson now available, Ferguson is admitting they will take some shifting from the starting XI.
Though there has been some pleasant surprise at the success, Wright was somewhat bemused when asked about how well it has worked.
“It’s not like we’ve been chucked together and we don’t know each other,” he told the Free Press.
“We’ve been team mates for two seasons.
“We’ve trained with each other quite a lot. There’s times when you’ll have small-sided games where you’re playing with each other.
“Although we’ve not played many games, we’ve trained well together and that just shows when we go into games now.”
It certainly does show.
Wright and Baudry have started the last four games together with Rovers winning two and drawing two, keeping three clean sheets in the process.
Stretching it out across the season, Rovers have won six and drawn seven of the 15 games in which Wright and Baudry have both started, conceding only 11 goals.
With the pair, the loss percentage is just 13 per cent. Without the pair, it is 38 per cent.
One of the main reasons why there was doubts over the suitability of the duo was a lack of a natural left-sided player – the role Butler would typically occupy.
Baudry has admitted in the past he does not feel the left side of a central unit particularly suits him.
But he has shown little sign of vulnerability and Wright puts that down to his quality on the ball.
“Frenchie has got the ability and the composure to sometimes just come back onto his right and find the pass into midfield or hit it on the diagonal,” he said.
“It’s always difficult playing on the left. I’ve done it a few times before.
“It limits you and where you can play but he’s done well.”
Both Wright and Baudry know they will have to remain at their best if they are to keep their partnership intact.
Butler, Boyle and Anderson are all in contention for a place in the squad having overcome their respective injury issues.
Wright is relishing the battle ahead.
“There’s a lot of competition right now so me and Frenchie are taking it game by game,” he said.
“We just need to make sure we keep our standards high and perform well.
“We’ve got loads of players in my position now so it’s going to be a fight for the shirt between now and the end of the season.
“If you’re in the team you’re always making sure you’re keeping your standards high to retain your shirt.”
For now at least, Wright and Baudry look immovable.
And Baudry is taking great delight over their recent clean sheet record.
“Frenchie keeps saying ‘another one’ which the lads are giving him a bit of stick over,” Wright said.
“But we’re enjoying it.”