Declan Rudd feels he has returned for pre-season training this summer stronger than he did prior to the last campaign.
The ‘keeper re-signed for PNE last summer, having previously spent time on loan at Deepdale while at Norwich, but Rudd had picked up an injury during his time at the Canaries that hindered his off-season preparations.
With the first pre-season game against Bamber Bridge on Saturday, Dec is hoping to last more than a couple of minutes at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium this time around.
Looking ahead to the game, Rudd told iFollowPNE: “Playing games is what you look forward to doing so I can’t wait to get out there and get some minutes under my belt.
“Getting your distances, judging your through balls, judging your crosses, playing running across you when there’s shots – it is completely different.
“I think for a goalkeeper it is probably a bigger thing than for an outfield player. Outfield players need the minutes in their legs but they’re doing that every day out on the training ground.
“Whereas in a competitive game, where you need to make sure everything is on point, for a goalkeeper, you’re working on those starting positions, working on which balls to come for and which balls not to come for.
“I just hope I make it past three minutes this time!
“I must admit it is in the back of my mind a little bit. I’ve worked really hard over the summer to make sure I’ve come back strong.
“I know for a fact that I’m more ready this year than I was last year, with an injury over the summer before I signed, this year I’ve come back and I feel a lot stronger and a lot fitter.
“Fingers crossed we can get past five minutes and then hopefully the rest of the 45 minutes goes well.”
Rudd has been pushed in pre-season by the consistent high temperatures at Springfields but he sees the warm weather as an opportunity, using Cryo Therapy with his skipper to get his recovery in after the sessions are over.
“It adds an extra ten or 20 per cent onto the workload with the heat but you can’t complain, it saves going abroad I suppose.
“It’s good, it gives you a chance to go out and do the extra work whereas if the weather isn’t great it’s hard to do to.
“Everyone likes being out in the sun so it’s good, we’ve got some really good work in, in the first week, so hopefully that can continue.
“If you can get that extra 10 per cent out of your body for the next day it makes it worth it. Having that speedy recovery at the Cryo Express in Blackburn is a massive help for that.
“We’re trying to get a few of the lads there to help with their recoveries, me and Tom [Clarke] went and we found it a great help. I’ll definitely be heading back there.
“We have the tech, machines and the ice baths but the Cryo Therapy is a different piece of kit that really helps. If it can help you get that extra bit out the next day.”
With our opening friendly kicking-off earlier to accommodate England’s World Cup quarter-final clash with Sweden, Rudd is hoping for a positive performance against Bamber Bridge before supporting the national side later in the afternoon.
“It’s a massive day for the country and for English fans, the set of lads that are out there are a young group of lads but they’re doing great and they’re really showing their quality and their mental strength.
“It’s great to see them out there but until I’ve got that 45 minutes under my belt, hopefully got through it injury free, I won’t be thinking about that game.
“It’d be nice to get back and watch it and support the country and hopefully we can get through to the next round.”
You can watch the full interview with Declan Rudd by clicking on the video above.