Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd says manager Alex Neil’s decision to sign a new three-year contract with the club has motivated the players to finish the season strongly.
Neil had been the favourite to become the new head coach of Championship rivals West Brom, who have been searching for a new manager since Darren Moore was sacked unexpectedly over five weeks ago.
A move for his appointment at the Hawthorns was expected to be made after Saturday’s game between the two clubs, which ended in a 4-1 victory for West Brom.
However, Neil committed his future to Preston, signing a new three-year deal to remain at Deepdale, much to the relief of the players.
It has been a difficult few weeks both on and off the pitch for Preston, with the team suffering three straight defeats in the Championship and Rudd admitted that the speculation surrounding Neil’s future did have an impact on the players.
The goalkeeper was quick to praise his manager for the job he is doing at the club and was delighted to see him sign a new deal. The 28-year-old is hoping that the players can use this as motivation to finish the season strongly.
“I think it shows the commitment from the club to the manager,” Rudd told the club’s official website.
“He’s shown he’s been devoted to this job, he works really hard, he tries to get every player to their best of their ability, he’ll coach them and you can see with how players have come on over the last two years how that has impacted the squad.
“We had injuries, suspensions, talk about the manager leaving – people like to say it shouldn’t affect you but all of those things do come into play and we’ve still got four games to go where we need to build momentum going into next season now and finish it as strongly as possible.”
It’s been a difficult few weeks for Preston and speculation surrounding Neil’s future obviously had an impact on the players.
The Scot signing a new contract is brilliant news for the Championship club, as it ends weeks of uncertainty. It means that the team can finally move forward and focus on ending the season strongly.
Neil appears to be building something special at Deepdale, having guided the club to within touching distance of the play-offs during his first season in charge last term, so it is no surprise that West Brom were interested in him.
Thoughts? Let us know!