Preston North End: Declan Rudd on his relationship with Ben Davies & Patrick Bauer

Declan Rudd at training

Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd has told Uclan Live he’s building a “really good relationship” with centre-backs Ben Davies and Patrick Bauer.

The 28-year-old is entering his third year alongside Davies, while he was joined in the summer by his former Charlton teammate Bauer.

The three players have played almost every minute in the Championship this season – Bauer was substituted in the 62nd minute against Sheffield Wednesday – and Rudd claims that consistency is helping to build a strong relationship in the heart of Preston’s defence.

He said: “Obviously I know Pat from when I was at Charlton. We played a full season there together and we know what each other are about, so it made it really easy for him to slot in. 

Rudd has been an ever-present in the Championship this season.

“Playing behind [Davies] is a joy every time you step out there. He makes the game look so easy. It is good. 

“We’re building a really good relationship now and I just hope that we can keep that going.”

Preston are third in the Championship and are the fourth-highest scoring side out of all the Football League’s 92 clubs.

Even though Alex Neil’s team are showing their ruthless streak at one end of the pitch, Rudd insists there’s still work to be done in defence after keeping just three clean sheets in their opening 11 games.

Rudd added: “We say this at the end of every game that we want more clean sheets. We’ve been close this season to a couple more than what we’ve got.

“If we keep a clean sheet then we only need to score one goal to win the game. That makes it a lot easier for the forward players and it puts a lot less pressure on them.

Preston are unbeaten at home this season, picking up 16 points out of a possible 18 at Deepdale.

“But sometimes if you go two or three ahead it is hard for the players to keep concentrating for that 90 minutes. To not concede a goal, especially if the game is already won.

“As a goalkeeper, and the centre-halves too, we want that clean sheet because that’s where we get all our accolades from. So we do all we can to try and achieve that.”

Rudd can keep a fourth clean sheet of the season when Preston travel to face Reading on Saturday.

The Royals, who are already 13 points behind North End, will be going into their first game under new manager Mark Bowen.