Goal celebration against Birmingham was redemption for Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd

Goalkeepers aren’t known for their running power, hence Declan Rudd being surprised at being bang in the middle of Preston’s goal celebrations in their last outing ahead of the international break.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 5:00 am
Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd

Rudd made the charge up field when Sean Maguire headed PNE’s stoppage-time winner against Birmingham.

There was probably more to it than congratulating his team-mate, for Rudd it was a way to put a blunder against the Blues earlier in the season well and truly in the past.

“My legs certainly felt that run when I calmed down after the game,” Rudd told the Post.

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“Somehow I found myself at the other end of the pitch, I just got really involved in the emotion of the game.

“It was such an important goal to score at an important time that the emotion got hold of me.

“One moment I was stood in my box, the next thing I’m down by the corner flag with the lads!

“What happened down at Birmingham was probably part of it but the big thing was that we had won the game.

“I hope there are plenty more goals to celebrate in the games ahead but I might have to save my legs.”

Rudd let a harmless ball bounce through his legs in the reverse fixture at St Andrew’s in December.

A mistake like that could have sunk a lesser keeper but the 28-year-old kept a strong mind-set and has played a key part in PNE’s rise up the table to seventh place.

Going into Saturday’s game at Reading, they are only out of the top-six on goal difference.

Since the blunder down at Birmingham, Rudd has played in every league fixture.

He has kept six clean sheets and let in 15 goals in 18 games.

Rudd said: “In the build-up to the Birmingham game last week, what happened down at their place was talked about a lot.

“People were surprised that I was happy to discuss it but it was a big moment.

“It really got me focused and got me heading in the right direction.

“If you worry about things like that, your focus won’t be right and it could make things a lot worse.

“I wish that mistake hadn’t happened but I’ve used that as a positive to move forward.

“Like everyone, I’ve really enjoying being on this run we are on.

“This team never gives up, you saw that in the last game,

“The way that one had gone we would probably have taken a 0-0 draw – that would have made it seven points out of nine that week.

“It was a bit of a scrap and there weren’t many chances, then all of a sudden we got the corner at the end.

“Sean Maguire got his head on it to score the winner and we had nine points out of nine from a week’s work.”