The gloves come off at PNE

Chris Maxwell will compete with Declan Rudd to be first-choice Preston goalkeeper
Chris Maxwell will compete with Declan Rudd to be first-choice Preston goalkeeper

Declan Rudd thinks the battle with Chris Maxwell to be the first-choice keeper at Preston is one which can bring the best out of both of them.

It will be an intriguing fight for the gloves, Maxwell having enjoyed an unbroken run of league games in the team from September last term.

Having cut his ties with Norwich – a club he had been at since a youngster – Rudd will not want to be sitting on the bench at Deepdale.

Such competition should give PNE boss Simon Grayson a selection headache of the right kind.

Rudd told the Post: “It can only be healthy to have strong competition.

“Throughout a football squad, everyone wants to play every game and the manager can only choose 11.

“With keepers it is often the case that there are just two of you competing , you work alongside one another and push each other.

“We know the situation and it will be a good battle.”

Maxwell started 38 of PNE’s Championship games last term after dethroning Anders Lindegaard as No.1.

The 2016/17 campaign was one which Rudd spent on loan at Charlton.

He returned to Norwich and looked like being their first-choice keeper following the release of John Ruddy.

But the Canaries signing Angus Gunn on loan from Manchester City scuppered that and opened the way for Preston to make their move.

Rudd says his experience of playing for North End on loan in 2013 and 2014, made it an easy decision to come back.

“There are still quite a few lads left from when I was last here,” said the 26-year-old.

“Paul Gallagher, Tom Clarke, John Welsh and Alan Browne are here.

“The staff are the same and it doesn’t feel like I have come to a new club, having to start afresh.

“It should be quite an easy transition, seeing the lads again and getting to know the others.

“When I came up for the medical it was nice to go back and see the training ground.

“The loan spells I had here a few years back were a big part of my career.

“I got a good number of games under my belt and learned a lot.

“When I first came, we were close to the relegation zone in League One.

“In the second loan we got into the play-offs before losing at Rotherham.

“I’ve been back at Norwich since, had time with Charlton and now I’m starting a new chapter here.”

Meanwhile, former North End left-back Scott Laird has joined Forest Green Rovers on a two-year contract.

Laird left PNE in July 2015, signing for Scunthorpe.

He spent much of last term on loan at Walsall.