Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd salutes his centre-backs

Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd during the Middlesbrough game
Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd during the Middlesbrough game

Preston keeper Declan Rudd is enjoying the protection which centre-halves Patrick Bauer and Ben Davies have afforded him so far this season.

Rudd rates the pair highly, with Bauer having previously been a team-mate when they were at Charlton.

North End extended their unbeaten Championship run to seven games with Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.

Both Bauer and Davies put in strong performances at the Riverside Stadium.

“The big German doesn’t mess about does he?” Rudd told the Lancashire Post.

“I’ve always said to him to defend first and play football second. Pat does that, he puts his body on the line.

“Ben has been excellent alongside him. On Tuesday he made two blocks that won us a point.”

Rudd returned the favour to Bauer in terms of making a fine save in the second half to prevent the defender putting through his own goal.

While it looked like Rudd had tipped a shot from Boro winger Marcus Tavernier over the bar, it was Bauer who had made the contact.

“It was actually Pat who hit the ball if you look at it again,” said Rudd.

“I was there to help him out but he probably helped me out 12 times by stopping the ball coming in my direction.

“Pat was different class and it’s great to play behind him and Ben – they’ve done well.”

With North End fifth in the table heading into Saturday’s home game with Barnsley, Rudd is happy with the way things are going.

A strong spirit within the squad is key to things going well in the keeper’s eyes.

Said Rudd: “I have been in the game as a pro for 12 or 13 years now and I’ve never been in a better dressing room.

“Everyone is involved, we base what we have done well on how close the group is. There are no little groups here who go off doing their own thing.

“We are one big unit from No.1 through to No.44, we are very together.”

Rudd did express some disappointment at North End only coming away from the Middlesbrough game with a draw, that after they took the lead through Josh Harrop.

It was a lead they only held for two minutes, with Darnell Fisher turning a low cross from Paddy McNair into his own net.

“We go into every game wanting and trying to win, so we were disappointed leaving Middlesbrough with a draw,” said Rudd.

“Middlesbrough made a few changes after they were beaten in the last game.

“They had players wanting to prove a point so we knew it would be tough.

“We probably didn’t play our best football and we know we can play better. Sometimes you have to battle it out.”