Preston North End must STOP conceding early goals says keeper Declan Rudd
Declan Rudd says it is time for Preston North End to start making life a bit easier for themselves by not conceding the first goals in matches.
The Lilywhites have shown their powers of recovery in the last two games by taking four points after coming from behind.
A goal down after three minutes of the derby clash at Blackburn a week last Saturday, North End salvaged a 1-1 draw.
Against Charlton they fell behind early doors but came back to win 2-1 – their first victory for a month.
PNE have gone a goal down in their last FIVE league and cup games.
In the four games prior to that run, they had gone in front in three of them and drawn the other 0-0, so it is not an epidemic.
North End goalkeeper Rudd said: “Conceding the first goal is just an unfortunate phase we are going through .
“It hasn’t come about by us changing approach or doing anything differently.
“But at the moment that is something we have to sort out. Earlier in the season we were used to being one or two goals ahead in the first half-hour or so.
“Recently we have found ourselves a goal down in that same sort of period.
“We have taken four points from the last two games after conceding in the first few minutes, so we haven’t let it affect us. As a team we can’t keep dragging ourselves back into it every week.
“Obviously if we don’t concede the first goal, it gives us more of an opportunity to win the game.”
Rudd was beaten from close range by former PNE team-mate Andre Green in the Charlton game.
He did not have a save to make after that, North End pushing on to equalise through Josh Harrop’s fine shot from the edge of the box, and then win the game with a Patrick Bauer header.
Not since beating Luton by the same score on December 14 had they put three points on the board.
It is Barnsley next for North End, a Tuesday night trip over the Pennines to Oakwell. The reverse fixture at Deepdale in October saw a 5-1 win for North End, their biggest of the season.
That proved to be the last game in charge of the Tykes for Daniel Stendel, with his replacement arriving the following month in the shape of Gerhard Struber.
The Austrian has overseen five league and cup wins in his 11 games in charge and has certainly got the tide turning in South Yorkshire.
His time in charge also included a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
Rudd said: “Every game in this league is tough, no matter where a team are in the table.
“Barnsley have improved quite a lot since their new manager came in, they’ve had some great results.
“We have to take the same approach over there as we did for example when we went to play Leeds on Boxing Day. It will be a different type of game to the one we played at Deepdale.
“I enjoy the night games, enjoy being the away team – this is the type of game which tests your character.
“If we can get a result to follow up the win against Charlton, that would be brilliant.
“The victory at the weekend was very welcome and much needed.
“It had been a while since we’d had that winning feeling in the dressing room afterwards.
“In the first part of the season we had a lot of wins and enjoyed that. Maybe we just started taking them for granted but we are back to winning ways now. The hunger has always been there to win games but it just hadn’t been happening for whatever reason.
“Some of our performances weren’t a million miles off deserving a win and the fact we didn’t lose touch with the play-off places shows how tight the league is. There are 10 clubs – maybe more – who are in or around the play-offs.
“Others up there have also hit runs without winning, it is not just us.
“It shows how tight the league is.
“We’ve had a taste of what it is like to be up there and we want that again.
“When we beat Charlton at their place in November we went top of the division.
“We’ve dropped off since then but the signs are there we can push on again.”
Rudd had started all of North End’s Championship games this season.
He has had the experience of goalkeeper coach Jonathan Gould for guidance for the last few months.
“I feel in a good place at the moment,” said Rudd.
“Working with Gouldy has taken me on to the next level where I can be more consistent.
“Every day I’m working on my game, working with Gouldy on every aspect of what I do.”