Preston North End’s goalkeepers’ union helps push Iversen and Rudd to greater heights

Preston goalkeeper Daniel Iversen was expecting a spell on the substitutes’ bench after returning to the club on the eve of the new Championship season.

By Craig Salmon
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 2:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th August 2021, 3:05 pm

The 24-year-old had initially arrived on loan at Deepdale in the January transfer window after Declan Rudd had suffered a serious knee injury.

Iversen impressed for the Lilywhites in the second half of last season and head coach Frankie McAvoy was keen to see him return during the summer for another loan spell.

However, his parent club Leicester City kept hold of the shotstopper for the majority of pre-season, especially as they were without Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Ward, who had featured in the European Championships for Denmark and Wales respectively.

Daniel Iversen has returned to North End this season on loan after a successful stint with the club last season

In the meantime, Rudd had returned to full fitness and had featured prominently for North End in the pre-season fixtures.

It was former Norwich City keeper who was given the nod for the opening game of the season at home to Hull City.

Unfortunately, Rudd’s return to first-team duty was over before it had barely begun.

In the second minute, he collided with Tigers winger Keane Lewis-Potter and had to be substituted after being diagnosed with concussion.

Unexpectedly, Iversen was thrust into action and he has maintained his position between the sticks in the league ever since.

Rudd was forced to sit out the next couple of games but was handed a return for the Carabao Cup victory over Morecambe on Tuesday.

The likelihood is that Iversen will be back for the visit of Swansea City to Deepdale in this weekend’s Championship clash. “Declan is a good keeper,” said Iversen. “He obviously started the season in goal but then he got the injury.

“This is what can happen in football.

“Frankie (McAvoy) has chosen me for the games but we are both working so hard.

“Of course I wanted to play in the first game of the season but it was Frankie’s decision to play Declan.

“He had played some good games in pre-season and I had only had two 45 minutes for Leicester.

“But this is football. You have to take your chances when you come in.

“For a keeper it’s more difficult to get a chance.

“But it’s good to have Declan. It’s good to have that challenge.

“It helps me get better, it helps Declan get better.

“We have got Mathew Hudson and Connor Ripley as well.

“We have got a strong goalkeepers’ union here and we push each other every single day.”

The opening day of the season was far from ideal for Iversen.

Having entered the fray early against Hull, he found himself beaten four times.

In the two subsequent league matches against Reading and Huddersfield, North End were beaten by the odd goal.

Thankfully for the Dane, he picked up his first clean sheet of the league season last Saturday when North End battled to their first win of the season – a 1-0 victory over Peterborough at home.

Iversen is keen to see a return to the sort of defensive solidity which North End showed towards the end of last season once McAvoy took over from previous boss Alex Neil.

In the final eight games of the season, they won five and lost just once – keeping five clean sheets. He added: “It’s the same for a striker – he wants to score goals; a goakeeper wants a clean sheet.

“If you are able to keep a clean sheet then that’s one point at least for the team .

“I always want a clean sheet but if we don’t and we still win then I’m still happy.”

Swansea have had an indifferent start to their campaign.

They find themselves in a mid-table spot after picking up four points from four games.

“They like to play a lot of football,” he said.

“They like to play out from the back and so it’s important that we get the three points.”