Graham Westley is still looking to do more transfer business ahead of tomorrow night’s deadline after goalkeeper Declan Rudd became Preston North End’s third January signing.
Rudd, 22, has joined on loan from Norwich City for the rest of the season, that deal finalised shortly before PNE’s game at Crawley was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch last night.
He joins Joe Garner and Paul Connolly in the Deepdale arrivals lounge, with Westley still eyeing a couple more targets before the window for permanent signings shuts at 11pm tomorrow.
Westley said: “I’ve made no secret that I wanted four or five new players in this window, but I can’t make any promises because we need lads to move out first.
“That is not an easy process but if things come off, hopefully we can make one or two additions.
“We need to work within our squad budget, and unlike some other clubs in this league, we have stuck to the guidelines which are in place.
“I know that some clubs are struggling at the moment, agents have been ringing me to say certain clubs need to shift players quickly.
“We have tried to do things in the right way and, in the short-term, we have paid the price a couple of times because we missed out on targets.
“But the club stands on a firmer footing and we can build for the longer term.”
Norfolk-born Rudd has come up through the youth ranks at Norwich, making 14 starts and four substitute appearances.
He was in the Canaries side beaten 1-0 by Luton Town in the FA Cup on Saturday, and played in the previous round against Peterborough too.
Norwich boss Chris Hughton was always planning to loan him out this month, having brought in Lee Camp from Nottingham Forest to provide goalkeeping cover.
Westley’s interest in Rudd goes back to last summer when he was tipped off about him during a coaching course.
“Declan was recommended to me when I was doing my Pro-Licence course, one of the FA coaches mentioned him,” said the North End boss.
“The coach said that if I wanted a top kid who needed to get games and had played for England at various levels, here was someone for us.
“All the England youth coaches speak highly of Dec, and I have had a good look at him this season.
“I’ve been in contact with Norwich throughout the season and he has now become available.
“It’s nice to bring in a keeper of his quality to the club, and it comes as a boost after the departure of Steve Simonsen.”
Rudd wasn’t in the squad for last night’s soggy offering at Crawley, the deal only done late in the afternoon.
He’ll link-up with North End for training tomorrow and is likely to be on the bench for Saturday’s home clash against Shrewsbury.
His arrival calls into question the future of Rhys Taylor, who has been at PNE on a non-contract basis for the last three weeks.
It’s unlikely that Westley would carry three goalkeepers in the squad, with Rudd competing with Thorsten Stuckmann.
Westley said: “We have the ethos here that the players in form and deserving of the shirt, will wear the shirt.
“The goalkeeping department is the same as other areas of the squad in that regard, they will show on the training ground they are ready and have the appetite.”
Westley admitted to having run the rule over a number of trialists in the last couple of weeks as part of the process of strengthening the squad.
But he denied that striker Craig Beattie had been one of them, the Scot having had a short loan spell with PNE early in Alan Irvine’s tenure.
“We’ve had a number of players working with us, some we’ve had a short look at and others a longer look,” said Westley.
“We will carry on doing exactly that as we look to develop the squad.
“I haven’t seen Craig Beattie but I’ve certainly seen a lot of other players.”