Dec ready to fight for gloves

Declan Rudd during his time on loan with North End
Declan Rudd during his time on loan with North End
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A Deepdale return for Declan Rudd is in the pipeline, three years after his time on loan with Preston came to an end.

The Norwich goalkeeper will make a permanent switch to PNE next week, battling it out with Chris Maxwell to be first choice.

Having spent the best part of 18 months on loan with North End in 2013 and 2014, Rudd knows the club well.

He first signed in January 2013, his PNE debut coming in Graham Westley’s last game in charge at Yeovil.

Rudd returned for the whole of the following season, starting all 46 league games and nine more in the play-offs, FA Cup and League Cup.

Preston have kept tabs on him since and recent events at Carrow Road have allowed them to make their move.

Having spent last season on loan at Charlton, Rudd went back to Norwich expecting to be first-choice keeper in the new campaign.

But the Canaries’ capture of Angus Gunn on loan from Manchester City, thwarted those ambitions for Rudd.

PNE are having to pay a fee for the keeper, with Norwich having taken up a 12-month contract option on Rudd when he returned from Charlton.

Had they not done that, he would have been a free agent.

A £1m fee was reported by one national newspaper but the price is understood to be considerably less.

Rudd, 26, is on holiday at the moment, and is yet to have a medical ahead of the move.

Should the deal go through, it will be an interesting battle between Rudd and Maxwell for the gloves.

Maxwell ousted Anders Lindegaard from the first team last September after 
initially arriving as back-up.

He will soon have Rudd pushing him, competition which can only benefit PNE.

With pre-season training less than a fortnight away, the summer recruitment is slowly taking shape.

Sean Maguire’s move from Cork was announced earlier in the month, with team-mate Kevin O’Connor set to follow.

North End manager Simon Grayson said: “A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to get people in.

“Deals can take time and the whole market has been a bit quiet.

“We have got Sean Maguire done and we are not far away with a few more.

“As you get closer to the start of pre-season training, you generally see the transfer market get busier.

“Managers tend to like to get a lot of the business done before pre-season so that you have time to get new players fully involved.

“ You aren’t always going to get everyone you want before training starts because things can happen further down the line.

“But having most of the squad together is good.”