Declan Rudd is confident Preston North End can continue their good form against Championship opposition when they take on Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup fourth round.
The Lilywhites have won two of their four matches against Championship sides this season, beating Lancashire rivals Blackpool and Ipswich Town.
And, although Rudd thinks Forest will provide a sterner test than their previous opponents, the 23-year-old goalkeeper is positive about North End’s chances at the City Ground.
“I am confident we will carry on that good form but it’s a bit of a different test this game,” Rudd told PNE.Com in an exclusive interview.
“Obviously they have beaten Premier League opposition, scored five goals past them and in their last few games they have scored a lot of goals.
“They’re on a good run at the minute so it brings a bigger test to us, also playing at their place is going to be hard, but I’m confident the team can put in a good performance and do their best to get through to the next round.”
The Lilywhites will come up against former manager Billy Davies on Friday night.
The 49-year-old Scot guided North End to the 2005 Championship Play-Off final, where they narrowly lost 1-0 to West Ham United at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The fourth round tie will also mark Joe Garner’s return to the City Ground, two years after the striker left Nottingham Forest for Watford.
Garner has been in scintillating form for the Lilywhites this season and Rudd claims he would not be surprised if the forward bagged a goal against his former club.
“I wouldn’t bet against him scoring in any game at the minute, everything he seems to touch seems to go in the back of the net,” he said.
“He’s in really good form and I hope for his sake and the team’s sake that he can keep it going because he deserves it.
“He is working hard and at the minute he is getting all his rewards.”
The reward for beating Forest is the possibility of facing Premier League opposition in the next round of the competition. But, instead of thinking about what might be, Rudd’s concentration is firmly on the task at hand.
“That’s the carrot we’re aiming to get, hopefully we can get through and get one of the big Premier League teams,” he said.
“But you can’t really afford to look ahead that much because we’ve got a big job on our hands on Friday night and that’s the main thing we’ve got to be considering at the minute.”