Norwich City goalkeeper Declan Rudd set for play-off push with Preston North End
06:30 10 May 2014
Norwich City goalkeeper Declan Rudd will be in the spotlight today as Preston North End begin their push for promotion back to the Championship through the League One play-offs.
Rudd has been ever-present for North End this season, keeping 16 clean sheets in 46 league games as he continues his education away from Carrow Road.
After playing seven times to help City to the League One title in the 2009/10 season, Rudd was restricted to rare opportunities to impress as the Canaries rose to the Premier League.
He enjoyed a good loan spell with Preston in the second half of last season and then returned to Deepdale on a season-long loan.
With City number one John Ruddy likely to be linked with moves away from Carrow Road this summer following City’s relegation to the Championship, Diss-born Rudd could well get the chance to prove his ability with the Canaries next season.
If the 23-year-old can help Preston to promotion first, then his Championship prospects would be strengthened even further.
North End, who have now spent three seasons in League One, host Rotherham at Deepdale in the first leg of their play-off semi-final in a 5.15pm kick-off today.
The Lancashire club have never been promoted through the play-offs before, despite eight attempts, so manager Simon Grayson is remaining cautious.
“We won’t go out and play kamikaze football,” Grayson said. “We’ll give it a good go to try and win the game, but we certainly won’t be playing suicidal football and trying to get it all done in the first leg.
“Rotherham are too good a team to try and do that against anyway. They’ve got a lot of threats, a lot of pace, and in there for a reason.”