Norwich City’s Declan Rudd is enjoying the high life at Preston
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Declan Rudd is one Norwich City player who can focus on a promotion battle rather than a relegation skirmish, with loan club Preston riding high in League One.
The 23-year-old has swapped the Canaries' Premier League survival scrap for trying to help the Lilywhites into the Championship and Rudd is poised for his 50th outing of the season against promotion rivals Brentford on Good Friday. Rudd has been a revelation at Deepdale with Simon Grayson's fifth-placed side comfortably in a play-off spot 19 points clear of seventh-placed Swindon. The City academy product, however, knows it is vital North End maintain their surge over the final month if he wants to emulate the achievement of his fellow Norwich loanee, Cameron McGeehan, who clinched promotion back to the Football League earlier this week with Luton Town.
'It is an exciting time to be involved now because the games mean so much at the top and the bottom. We need to keep the form going and keep it going right until the end because it is still mathematically possible to catch the top two,' said Rudd. 'We know the play-offs are there but we can also decide a lot of teams' futures at the bottom in the next few weeks. Momentum is absolutely key if we end up in those play-offs. You always see it every year that the form side is the one who have the best chance to go up. Look at Crystal Palace last season, they nicked a play-off spot and ended up going into the Premier League. Momentum takes you up and we need to make sure we keep it going in the next few games.'
Rudd has been part of defence that has kept 20 clean sheets but the Diss-bred keeper has praised the efforts of the men in front of him.
'We've got a team ethic that works as hard as it can and we make sure we do our best to keep the ball out,' he told Preston's official site. 'We defend from the front and that explains why we have lost only five games this season. That tells you we have not dipped too much. Every team has a dip but we have managed to maintain quite a high level. It has only happened for one or two games and we have picked things up again. I think there are exciting times to come.'