Competition between Declan Rudd and Chris Maxwell good news for PNE boss Alex Neil

Chris Maxwell in action on his return to the PNE side at Sunderland
Chris Maxwell in action on his return to the PNE side at Sunderland

Alex Neil says his choice of goalkeeper for Preston’s next game will present him with the type of selection issue he has faced in other positions throughout the season.

Declan Rudd’s 10-match run in the team came to an end when he missed the 2-0 win at Sunderland to attend the birth of his son.

That absence handed back the gloves to Chris Maxwell who was first-choice between the posts until January.

Maxwell is currently in China with the Wales squad and returns early next week ahead of PNE’s Good Friday trip to Sheffield Wednesday.

North End boss Neil said: “As a manager of a squad of good players who have been doing well, this is something you have to deal with.

“We have chopped and changed a few players over the course of the season for one reason or another.

“That might be due to loss of form, someone coming in and looking sharp or just to freshen things up.

“Every manager will have 11 guys who are happy and other guys who are frustrated and want to play.

“I have to keep an even keel and balance, make sure that the guys are in a good frame of mind when they come back in.

“With how good a season we are having, that has been relatively easy.”

Maxwell started the first 28 league games, Rudd on the bench from November onwards after recovering from a thigh injury sustained in a pre-season friendly.

Rudd played the two FA Cup games at Wycombe and Sheffield United, keeping his place after the Blades defeat.

He didn’t make the trip to Sunderland after his wife went into labour last Friday.

Mathew Hudson was the back-up to Maxwell on the bench at the Stadium of Light.

Maxwell performed well at Sunderland, making a good early save from Joel Asoro.

He also produced a save in the second half to tip a free-kick from Kazenga Lualua over the bar.