‘It’s one of the first games I always look out for’ - City fan Rudd on his homecoming
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Declan Rudd admits it will be a special afternoon for the Preston keeper back at his boyhood club Norwich City.
The Diss-bred stopper returned from a thigh injury for the midweek League Cup win against Derby and is desperate to feature at a Carrow Road that will have 1,000 fans in attendance as part of a pilot scheme.
“It’s one of the first games I always look for when the fixtures come out, I have a lot of family and friends who are Norwich fans,” he said. “It means I don’t have to drive 250 miles to see my family.
“I had some great times there and it is something that will stay with me forever.
“It definitely isn’t difficult to want to beat them. There’s always that in the back of your mind that you were there and they got rid of you. But it was a great time when I was involved with the club and I witnessed some great times. It’s my boyhood club.
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“It’s a great game and we will be going there looking for the win. (On fans being present) You’ll be able to hear that Norfolk accent for sure and it’s obviously good to have some fans back in.
“It’s been great to get back out there. I feel great, I didn’t have any flare ups after the game so it’s all good and I’m feeling ready for the weekend if selected.
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“It was great to be back out there on Tuesday night. I got injured five days in to pre-season which wasn’t great but it was good to get some minutes in the cup to get back in to the swing of things. It’s never nice being injured. You can’t do anything about it and there is no point letting it get you down. It was a three to four week thing, there was a bit of complication two weeks in but I got back just over three weeks after which was good.
“As a team we are up there every year and people still don’t talk about us really at the start of each season. We need to get that belief within the squad that we aren’t just ‘little Preston’, belief is a massive factor of success.”
Rudd has established himself as the number one at Deepdale under former City chief Alex Neil. The 29-year-old missed last season’s FA Cup defeat to Daniel Farke’s squad but was outstanding in the 3-1 Championship home win for Preston when the sides last met in the second tier.
Neil admitted on Thursday morning at his own pre-match press call a Canaries’ reunion is also something he relishes.
“It does bring back memories and because I’ve been there it is slightly different to other games you face because I know the people there and we had a great time there when we got promoted,” he said “I have fond memories of my time at Norwich.
“You’d say they’re as strong as the team that went up, on paper. They have players that played in the Premier League that don’t even get a game at the moment.
“We have got to start somewhere in terms of getting people back in to football, even if it is only a small amount.
“It will probably be a positive for them more them us with it being home fans, it would be nice if it was at Deepdale.”