Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd won't be made a 'scapegoat' says Alex Neil
Preston North End boss Alex Neil says he won't 'make a scapegoat' of goalkeeper Declan Rudd after his howler of a mistake in the 3-0 defeat to Birmingham City.
Rudd let a harmless shot from distance by Maikel Kieftenbeld bounce through his legs to gift the Blues the lead a minute into the second half.
It was a horrible moment for the keeper who recently won his place back in the side from Chris Maxwell.
From then on North End found it tough going, further goals from Jacques Maghoma and Che Adams making it a disappointing afternoon in the West Midlands gloom.
Neil said: "As a professional player you know when you've made an error, you've just got to let it go - there is nothing you can do about it now.
"Declan needs to put it to the back of his mind and move on.
"We are certainly not going to make a scapegoat of him, he has made a mistake and it has cost us the first goal.
"We can go and repair that by maybe getting the next goal which we didn't do.
"Later we cost ourselves two more goals by not moving the ball well enough.
"Alan Browne gets caught on it and they score the second, then Darnell Fisher hits a poor ball into the box, they nick it and counter us to make it three.
"There was a lot more which went wrong in the game than that one mistake."
It wasn't a classic game by any stretch of the imagination and defeat brought PNE's nine-game unbeaten run to an end.
With Ben Pearson and Tom Clarke adding their names to the list of absentees, the visitors were up against it.
Neil said: "Birmingham haven't lost a home game all season.
"Some really good football teams who build and play through you have found it really difficult here.
"They give you the ball and sit behind you with a deep-lying block, they don't press the ball.
"When they get it, they play it up to Lukas Jutkiewicz and play around him.
"The first half wasn't a great game, I always thought it would be a stuffy game.
"You need to compete here, I thought we did that okay in the first half.
"In the second half we needed to compete and do the basics, we didn't do that at times."