Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd says PNE have to target going unbeaten until the end of the season if they are secure a play-off place

Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd
Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd

Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd says the Lilywhites have to target another unbeaten run if they are to extend their season into the play-offs.

Their 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United at Deepdale dropped them five points behind off the pace with six games left.

Twice this season, North End have put together lengthy unbeaten runs – a nine-game run in October and November, then the 12-match sequence which only ended at Reading.

Rudd said: “This side has shown it can go unbeaten.

“We did 12 unbeaten and now we have to do six if we are to stand a chance of making the play-offs.

“It sounds a lot easier than it is doing it but that is how it is, we have to go again.

“Both teams we play in the next two games lost like we did on Saturday.

“That showed they are not unbeatable and we have to take heart from that.

“At the moment Bristol City are in sixth place and we are five points behind.

“That is a two-game swing, so we need a couple of wins and hope for a slip-up from them.

“Unfortunately it is not in our own hands but in some ways that takes the pressure off us.”

Rudd felt PNE deserved more from their clash with the Blades, a goal from David McGoldrick settling things in the 33rd minute.

He scored from close range after Rudd had tipped a John Egan header against he bar.

“From the corner we knew what Sheffield United like to do,” said Rudd.

“The lad got free at the back and headed it across.

“Billy Sharp is one of the best I have come across in dealing with the goalkeeper in situations like that.

“He just did enough to stop me getting a big enough punch at the ball.

“I could only flick it against the bar and when you are at the top of the league, it falls for you for a tap-in.

“We were frustrated to lose because we thought we had the better of the game.

“We went out there to give it a good shot and I thought we did just that.

“It was that final little bit of quality which was missing and we switched off at the corner.

“We controlled most of the game so it is a bit deflating to come away as losers. But we go again on Tuesday.”