Preston North End in Numbers: How the stats compare in battle between Declan Rudd and Chris Maxwell
Another game, another debate about who is going to play in goal for Preston North End.
It is a decision Alex Neil seems to go through almost weekly and he has a big call to make again ahead of Blackburn Rovers’ trip to Deepdale on Saturday.
Declan Rudd kept a clean sheet at Bristol City before the international break but only found a way back into the side after Chris Maxwell’s red card against Ipswich.
Prior to that, Maxwell had taken over from Rudd after a series of errors meant the man who started the season between the sticks was left out by Neil.
Now though, who gets the nod?
There are two clear camps amongst fans, some prefer Rudd’s safety-first style while others favour sweeper-keeper Maxwell.
Let’s throw that out of the window though and try and find out who is No.1 when it comes down to numbers.
This season Rudd has played nine games, all in the league, and conceded 15 goals.
That’s an average of 1.66 goals against per match with two clean sheets coming in his first game, the opening day 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers, and most recent outing, another 1-0 victory, this time at Ashton Gate.
Maxwell featured in all three rounds of the league cup meaning he has made 11 appearances all told, playing 975 minutes to Rudd’s 810.
In league and cup the Welshman has conceded 18 goals coming at 1.64 per game, a slight improvement on Rudd’s average.
He also has two clean sheets, in the impressive League Cup win at Leeds and the thumping 4-0 home win over Wigan.
In terms of minutes per goal both ‘keepers sit on 54, something that again proves just how little there is between them.
Objectively, there have been less clear errors from Maxwell though, a first red card of his career ending a positive stint in the side that coincided largely with PNE’s recent upturn in form.
Many argue that his late penalty save in the dramatic 3-3 draw at Aston Villa can be pinpointed as a turning point in the season.
It may have been in defeat but it’s also worth noting that Rudd has a penalty save of his own this season, in the 1-0 reverse at Swansea.
It has turned into the battle to be PNE’s principal shot-stopper many expected after Rudd’s delayed start to life back at Deepdale last season due to a thigh injury in the summer of 2017.
And it looks like it might rage on for some time yet.