Ruddy set to face former colleague

Former goalkeeping allies will be on opposing sides in the battle for priceless Championship points at Carrow Road tomorrow (3pm).

With John Ruddy out to maintain his excellent form for promotion-chasing Norwich City, his former Everton colleague, Iain Turner, looks certain to be between the posts for bottom-of-the-table Preston North End.

The 27-year-old Turner, a Scotland B international, has helped Phil Brown’s team to three draws in his five appearances since arriving on loan from Goodison Park last month.

Like Ruddy, he has found his first-team chances at Everton very limited and has made just six senior appearances since joining the Toffees from Stirling in 2003.

Ruddy played just once for the first team in five years with David Moyes’ side, but regular senior football with Paul Lambert’s Canaries has brought the best out of him and he has looked an increasingly commanding figure in recent weeks, keeping his ninth clean sheet in the 2-0 win at Barnsley last Saturday with the help of a smart reaction save from Goran Lovre. One decision for Lambert tomorrow will be whether to retain the new-look formation he used at Oakwell with Wes Hoolahan supporting skipper Grant Holt in attack ahead of a four-man midfield, or whether to recall one of his strikers to the starting line-up as City bid to extend a remarkable run that has brought nine wins, nine draws and just two defeats in the last 20 league games.

By contrast, Preston manager Brown is still seeking his first win since taking over from Darren Ferguson, with his team having gone 12 league matches overall without victory since beating Ipswich in December. He is likely to recall Iain Hume in attack, while on-loan Leon Cort is expected to return in defence. Cort was ineligible for last week’s 2-1 home defeat at the hands of his own club, Burnley. Ex-Norwich strikers Chris Brown and Paul Hayes are likely to be on the bench, with midfielder Darel Russell also hoping to force his way into contention.

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