Stability is so crucial for Preston North End boss Alex Neil

A key aspect of Declan Rudd signing his new contract is the stability it brings to the Preston squad, says Lilywhites manager Alex Neil.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 5:00 pm

Earlier in the month, the PNE goalkeeper signed a three-year deal which runs until June 2023.

Rudd is one of a number of players who Neil has worked with throughout his time at Deepdale.

The keeper joined North End a couple of weeks before Neil’s appointment in the summer of 2017 and has in the main been his No.1.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd with team-mate Darnell Fisher

Other players fall into that category of providing the core to Neil’s plans.

Darnell Fisher, Ben Davies, Ben Pearson, Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson, Sean Maguire, Paul Gallagher and Tom Barkhuizen have all been consistent selections.

Neil told the Lancashire Post: “Discussions had been going on for some time and we eventually got it dealt with and sorted.

“That Declan has signed for the next three years is great and he gives us a stability in the goals.

“As this season went on, Declan has become better and better, so it’s excellent he has signed.”

Neil and Rudd were at Norwich together.

While Neil played the keeper 11 times in the Premier League in the 2015/16 season, he then sent him out on loan to Charlton Athletic the following campaign.

So perhaps there might have been mixed feelings for Rudd when Neil was appointed as North End boss.

Once Rudd got fit after sustaining a thigh injury in the first couple of weeks of pre-season and forced his way back into the side, he has pretty much stayed there. Rudd held off the challenge of Chris Maxwell for the gloves.

Likewise, Connor Ripley has spent plenty of time on the bench since arriving in January 2019, unable to dislodge Rudd.

North End will have plenty of contract negotiations to conduct in the months ahead.

They have Gallagher and Tom Clarke among others out of contract in June.

Then in summer 2021 they have a lengthy list of players reaching the end of their current deals.

They include Pearson, Davies, Browne, Johnson, Fisher and Maguire – the core of regulars under Neil.

With football’s finances stretched to the limit during the shutdown, being able to plan too far ahead is difficult.

But extending contracts will be a major piece of work.