Preston North End manager Alex Neil has suggested that he would be keen to see goalkeeper Declan Rudd sign a new deal to commit his long-term future to the club, but that it is ultimately a club decision over whether a new deal will come about.
Rudd has been an ever present for Preston in goal so far this season, and the keeper has been a reliable presence between the sticks for the Lilywhites, helping to ensure that they have been able to put themselves in a strong position to go and mount a promotion push this term.
However, the keeper is one of a few of Preston’s key players whose contracts are set to expire in the summer, with the likes of Paul Gallagher and Tom Clarke also seeing their contacts run out at the end of the campaign – and the Lilywhites will not be wanting to allow all three of those to leave on free transfers.
QUIZ: Can you name the club these 14 ex-Preston North End players are playing for now?
Speaking to Lancashire Live, ahead of Preston’s clash with Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, Neil insisted that he would do everything he could to push for the club to provide Rudd with a new contract, but that it is ultimately down the player and club agreeing the right terms.
He said: “There’s quite a few obviously with open ends in terms of contracts that we’d like to get sorted.
“To be honest all I can do is make recommendations and then from that point it’s up to the player, agent and club to sit down and get it resolved.
“Obviously I’ll try to push that as much as I can but I don’t have complete control over the contracts.
“I don’t deal with money, if you know what I mean, so the money’s not in my bag.
“I focus on the team, getting the team ready and obviously I recommend who I want to sign and get things done that way.
“But in terms of what the cash is, that’s not my sort of area. ”
Rudd has certainly been a consistent and reliable performer for Preston throughout the season, and the keeper has more than done enough to suggest he deserves to be offered a new deal to keep him at Deepdale, and Neil’s comments show he is eager for him to remain at the club.
It would be unwise for Preston to allow a player of Rudd’s ability and importance to leave the club on a free transfer in the summer, so they should do all that they can to ensure that they keep hold of him and manage to agree a new contract before the summer.
Neil will not be wanting to see any of his key players leave the club, as he looks to continue to move the club forwards, and the Lilywhites could well be in a position of strength in terms of agreeing a new deal in the summer, were they to go on and secure promotion.
Preston are going to face an important summer whatever division they are playing in next term, and making sure they keep the players Neil wants will be crucial in helping them continue to head in the right direction over the next few years.