Talks have begun with North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd over Deepdale future

Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd
Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd

Preston have had talks with the agent of Declan Rudd as the goalkeeper reaches the last few months of his current contract.

Rudd has recently changed representatives and will be keen to sort his future, with him out of contract at the end of the season.

The 28-year-old saw his name linked with Rangers this week.

Whether that was to try and hurry contract talks along or the interest from Glasgow is genuine, remains to be seen.

But there will come a time soon when North End need to take a view on Rudd.

If Rangers do pursue Rudd, they could try and sign him in the January transfer window .

Or they could negotiate a pre-contract agreement with him, a deal which would come into play next summer when his PNE contracts ends.

He has been first-choice at Deepdale for much of Alex Neil’s reign.

This season Rudd has been ever-present in the league, while in the 2018/19 campaign he played 36 of the 46 games in the Championship.

There was an eight-game spell when Chris Maxwell was between the posts.

Then for the final two games of last season, Connor Ripley got the nod.

Rudd is one of four senior keepers on Preston’s books who will be out of contract next June as things stand.

Maxwell, who is on loan at Hibernian for the season, Michael Crowe and Mathew Hudson are the others.

Crowe has only played one first-team game for North End, that the FA Cup defeat to Doncaster in January.

Hudson has been on the bench twice this season, once when Ripley was ill and then against Blackburn a fortnight ago for different reasons.

He was needed that day so that PNE could have a player who had come through their academy in the squad.

That is a requirement of the EFL and centre-half Ben Davies being in the team usually ticks that box.

However, Davies was ruled out by an ankle injury and Hudson got the nod to fill the home-grown category.

On the goakeeping front, North End were one of three clubs linked with Sheffield Wednesday keeper Cameron Dawson this week.

Themselves, Blackburn and Derby were credited with an interest in Dawson, 24, who is out of contract in June.

However, it is understood that Dawson – the Owls’ second-choice keeper –is not on PNE’s radar.

Meanwhile, Southampton are not thought to be tracking Preston’s head of recruitment Joe Savage despite reports that they were.

Savage, who worked under PNE boss Alex Neil at Norwich and Hamilton, was linked with Southampton’s vacancy for a sporting director.