Preston North End face big goalkeeper decisions this summer
The goalkeeping situation at Preston North End will be one which needs attention later on this season or at least when it eventually finishes.
Of the four keepers in the Lilywhites’ first-team squad, three of them are due out of contract in the summer.
It might be that contracts can be extended on a short-term basis to cover the likelihood of the season running into July and perhaps beyond.
Before the 2020/21 campaign starts though, there will be work to be done.
First-choice keeper Declan Rudd together with Mathew Hudson and Michael Crowe are in the final three months of their contracts.
It leaves Connor Ripley, who has in the main been Rudd’s back-up, as the one senior keeper with time to run on his current deal.
It is understood that there have been talks with Rudd’s representatives and a contract offer is on the table.
Rudd has played every Championship game this season and his displays have, in the main, been very good.
Apart from the final two games of last season when Ripley pulled on the gloves, Rudd’s run in the team goes back to November 2018.
Ripley played in PNE’s three Carabao Cup matches earlier in the season and the FA Cup defeat to Norwich City which wasn’t his finest hour.
Hudson’s use this season has been as a substitute a handful of times, either when Ripley was absent or to satisfy the EFL’s home grown rule.
Clubs have to include a player who has come through their academy in a matchday squad.
Ben Davies normally ticks that box but when he’s been out injured, Hudson was called on.
Hudson’s one game for PNE remains the 1-0 defeat at Leeds in December 2015.
A teenager at the time, he came off the bench in the first half after Jordan Pickford had been sent-off.
Pickford later had the red card for handling outside the box rescinded on appeal.
Hudson spent the first-half of last season on loan at Bury but saw limited action.
Crowe, a Bosman signing in the summer of 2018 after he had left Ipswich, has also played only once for PNE.
That was in last season’s 3-1 defeat to Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup.
At the end of February, Crowe joined Bamber Bridge on loan. That loan spell was obviously cut short by the football shutdown, with Brig’s season now having been cancelled by the FA.