When you come to a new club, you want to hit the ground running. Get a few games under your belt, perform well, establish a base to build off.
If you can do that, then who knows what the future may bring.
It hasn’t quite worked like that for Declan Rudd.
The goalkeeper returned to Deepdale in the summer, signing a three-year-deal just before the squad returned to pre-season training.
His first spell, across 18 months on loan from Norwich, he was the No.1, making 60 appearances for the Lilywhites and when he returned to PR1 he was hoping to compete with Chris Maxwell and make the goalkeeping department stronger.
Within a month, he had a new manager, no goalkeeping coach and an injury, that would eventually rule him out for the majority of the first half of the season.
As he explains, enough happened to make a pretty decent book… although most people might never believe that it was all true!
“Joining in July, coming in and then getting injured in the first five minutes of the Bamber Bridge game, being out for eight weeks, coming back, doing it again and being out for another ten weeks, it probably couldn’t have gone any worse for me,” he was now able to say with a smile on his face when he sat down with The One And Only last week.
“Off the pitch I was struggling; I couldn’t find a house for until a month ago, so it has not been great, but that is the roller coaster of football and you just have to get on with it and lucky enough now, I am back fit, training, in my house, and working hard to get back to where I was.
“2017 could be one I put to bed and don’t look back into it much! It is one of those things – it is football. Up until now I have had a really, enjoyable career, which has been pretty much injury free, with plenty of high points in it, so this has been something you have to deal with.
“I think a great way of looking at it is that 2018 could be quite the opposite and it could be a great year.
“Taking that as a fresh start, being able to put the last year behind me, we have the team pushing for the Play-Offs and performing really well, getting some really good results.
“I also have a little boy on the way, who is due in March, so things are really going to start looking up and it is exciting to see what is to come.
“Personally I know that I am getting back fit, getting back strong and I know that I am nearly at where I was when I was fit, so it is all to come and I am looking forward to it.
“It can’t get any worse, that’s the way I am looking at it. New year, new start and everything is looking up, so it is now all about knuckling down, working hard, hopefully the team keeps doing what they doing and we can only go upwards from there.”
The squad he is amongst is very different to the one Dec reached the Play-Off semi-finals with in 2014, something he says is a positive for the club.
“It is a massively different group to the one I played with last time.
“When I was here the first time, we worked on the fact that we were a close knit, really good team who worked really hard and that is still here, but we also now have a lot of really good quality here that can go out and win a game because of their individual ability. With the hard work and the close knit group still here as well, that plays into the manager’s hands, because he likes his teams to be close, to work hard and basically run the opposition off the pitch and make sure they send the opposition home knowing they have been in a game.
“The problem was that Norwich, some players didn’t want to buy into that and that’s what was hard. Some of them thought that because they were older than him and had played at a higher level than him that they thought they didn’t want to listen and that is their own fault because as you can see, if you listen to him and do what he says, you get success.
“It is good that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet and that we are all working together.
“The level that the players have been playing for the last three years, since I was here, is at a higher level and that automatically brings a player on and bringing in the higher quality of individuals as well, day to day training when you are outside playing with better players, improves you as an individual.
“It is a great mixture and we also have the desire and hunger to do whatever it takes to go and win a game,” he added.
You can read loads more from Dec, as well as features with Tom Clarke, Mathew Hudson, Chris Maxwell and John Welsh, all packed into the 100 pages of this Saturday’s edition of the matchday programme.
The One And Only will be on sale from the Sir Tom Finney ticket office from Friday afternoon and then from inside and outside the stadium on matchday for just £3, don’t miss out!