Alan Browne praises Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd
Alan Browne has praised the reliability of Preston keeper Declan Rudd who was their stand-out player in the defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
Although Rudd could not prevent the Lilywhites falling to a 2-0 defeat, his saves kept the losing margin down.
In last Saturday’s win over Hull, Rudd took stick from a fan as he headed for the tunnel at half-time and was not afraid to give a bit back.
Criticism though, was the last thing on Browne’s mind in the wake of the WBA loss.
Browne, who was skipper for the night at The Hawthorns, said: “Declan has been fantastic recently.
“He probably had a tough start to the season and knows that himself but has put that behind him and has been top-drawer.
“Dec has been one of our best players of late and it is really important to have a keeper you can rely on. He’s more than reliable at the moment.
“On Tuesday night he kept the scoreline down as much as he could do with some fantastic saves.
“He couldn’t do anything about the goals and as a team we needed to defend better.”
Browne was frustrated by the defeat to Albion, a result which did not cost PNE much ground in the promotion race but denied them the chance to strengthen their hand in it.
On the night, Bristol City below them and Brentford a place above both lost too.
Said Browne: “The bigger picture is positive but at the same time there have been a couple of occasions when we have slipped up and other sides have done too.
“We could have taken advantage of that a bit more but at the same time, we’ve been in a position where no one has taken advantage of us.
“It’s bitter-sweet really, we could have pushed on.”
North End are back on the road again on Saturday when they go to Craven Cottage to face Fulham.
It is a tough game coming hot on the heels of playing the Championship leaders.
The trip to London is one Browne is looking forward to being involved in.
“We enjoy going there and playing Fulham,” said the 24-year-old midfielder.
“They like to play out and we like to press, so it should be a good game.
“It is always a game which I like playing in. We won at home in December but it will be a different type of game this time.”
PNE will hope to have Josh Harrop back in the squad for the Fulham clash after he missed the Albion defeat.
North End boss Alex Neil said: “His hamstring was just a bit tight.
“We knew we would have to get after the ball so we were a bit concerned about that.
“Hopefully Josh should be okay for the weekend.”