Preston North End keeper Declan Rudd’s relishing chance to learn from new coach

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Declan Rudd will set to work with his fifth goalkeeping coach at Preston North End when pre-season training starts on Thursday.

The keeper coach role is one which has changed hands on a regular basis over the last three years, Mike Pollitt the new man in the role.

Pollitt has taken over from Jonathan Gould who has gone to live in New Zealand.

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For Rudd, the challenge is there to embrace the change and continue to show the strong form he did last season.

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

The 29-year-old played every Championship game in 2019/20 and, save for a couple of brief spells, has been Alex Neil’s first-choice keeper since January 2018.

Rudd admits he was sorry to see Gould emigrate having struck up a strong working relationship with him over the last 12 months. He is confident, though, that his work with former Wigan, Rotherham and Bolton keeper coach Pollitt will be just as fruitful.

Rudd told PNE’s official website: “Mike comes with great experience. I’m really looking forward to tapping into his knowledge.

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“Goalkeeping coaches don’t seem to last too long with me so I’ve worked with quite a few!

“It’s great because every coach has slightly different ways of doing things and slightly different techniques so you learn a lot from everyone.

“I’m looking forward to getting back in, having a chat and getting back to work.

“I hope that we can just push on from last year and get better.

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“It’s a great appointment from the club, someone with that experience who’s been at the top level for the majority of his career.

“He’ll have all the knowledge that’s needed to pass on and help all us keepers through the season.”

As well as Gould, Rudd has worked with keeper coaches Alan Kelly, Dean Kiely and Jack Cudworth.

Rudd’s ever-present status last season was not unique in his PNE career.

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When on loan at Deepdale from Norwich he played every league game in 2013/14.

Good impressions do last and Rudd made the move a permanent one in June 2017, just before his former Norwich boss Neil took over at the Lilywhites.

Injured in pre-seaason soon after signing, Rudd got into the team in January 2018.

He has played 98 league matches since.

There was a run of eight games in the 2018/19 season when Chris Maxwell got the nod over him.

Then at the end of the same campaign, Connor Ripley played twice.

It has been Rudd all the way since, with him signing a new three-year contract in April.