Desperation to prove City wrong drives Preston keeper
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Declan Rudd may be missing Preston North End's clash with boyhood club Norwich City on Good Friday, but the goalkeeper has backed interim boss Frankie McAvoy to seize his opportunity as he takes charge for the first time at Deepdale.
City's former academy graduate is currently recovering from a major knee injury that saw his cartilage pop out through his knee and lodged itself behind his kneecap. Rudd's last game for North End arrived back in January.
Rudd saw Alex Neil depart last and he was replaced on a temporary basis by former City coach McAvoy, who has been the Scot's long-serving assistant during his managerial career to date - including at Carrow Road.
For the former City shot-stopper, seeing Neil depart after developing such a close working relationship with him was hard to take, but he is expecting McAvoy to be fired up to get one over on his former side.
“It is hard because I was with Alex for three years at Norwich and four years here, so we grew quite a strong relationship.
“Seeing things not going well is hard sitting on the sidelines watching, especially not being able to influence – I am not saying me being involved on the pitch would make any difference, but at least I would know I could do my bit to help out.
“Norwich gave Frankie a massive opportunity in the game by bringing him to the club with Alex. They both took it with both hands and made a really good job of it.
- 1 Spurs loanee Skipp discusses his future and potential of Canaries return
- 2 “It was high on Ben and it was a red card' - Giannoulis bang to rights for Woodgate
- 3 PRESSER LIVE: City v Watford - Hanley, Pukki, Cantwell injury doubts
- 4 'A wonderful season' - Praise pours in for City from legends and pundits
- 5 'I am really happy here' - City star Buendia not worried about speculation
- 6 'Big Six' join European Super League 24 hours after City's promotion
- 7 'Good riddance' - Norwich fans react to European Super League plans
- 8 WATCH: Delighted Delia Smith leads Canaries fans in Emi Buendia sing song
- 9 Six things you might have missed after City's promotion party
- 10 Paddy Davitt verdict: I'll have a P please City
“I know they both have a lot of respect for the club, but you always want to get one over on your ex-team, me being a boyhood Norwich fan and being there for 12 years, every time I step on the pitch against Norwich, I want to make sure that I win."
Rudd, who joined City as an eight-year-old, made 35 appearances for the Canaries including a memorable victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United back in 2015.
Reflecting on playing for his boyhood club, the Diss-born goalkeeper admitted there were pressures away from the pitch that impacted his form on it and remains hurt by being told he wasn't good enough to stay at the club.
"Playing for the team brought a lot of external pressures. All my family members work with Norwich fans and when it didn't go well, it was tough because you knew your dad or mum would go into work on Monday and ask 'what happened?'.
"The time I had there was incredible. Some of the games were really special. When you leave that club, it almost becomes more special, it's like a cup final. When the fixtures come out, I always look for when we're playing Norwich.
"You always have a point to prove against someone who told you something that you didn't want to hear, that you're not wanted and not good enough for them. Once that is said to you, it stays with you forever. Every time you play against them, you want to prove them wrong.
"Everyone has their opinions but it's about the belief you have in yourself."
The 30-year-old is close to making his 200th appearance for Preston during a hugely successful period. He spent two periods on loan at Deepdale whilst with City before signing permanently in 2017.
Alex Tettey is the only remaining player from Rudd's time at Carrow Road, and despite readily admitting that his fandom of the club has diminished since his departure, Rudd still looks out for their results and wants the Canaries to thrive.
"I always look for their results. I always like to see them doing well. My association is with the club, the opportunity they gave me and what they did for me from the age of eight to where I am now," Rudd told Preston's club website.
"I always want the club to succeed and when a city with a club like Norwich or Preston does well, the whole city benefits. My family still live down there."