Declan Rudd will return to Springfields next week with a different man putting him through his paces following Jonathan Gould’s departure as goalkeeping coach.
Former PNE 'keeper Gould joined the club last season and worked with North End’s shot-stoppers throughout the last campaign, but he has made the decision to move back to New Zealand to be with his family.
Rudd worked well under the ex-Celtic No.1, playing every minute of Championship football in the 2019/20 season, and he had only good things to say about the departing coach.
“Me and Gouldy got pretty close over the last season,” Dec told PNE.Com. “There were a few things off the field that he’s really helped me with, helped me overcome and he’s just a generally great bloke and we’ll obviously keep in touch.
“He was great to have around, not only as a goalkeeper but all the outfield lads absolutely loved him as well.
“He had the respect of them which is hard as a goalkeeping coach because outfield players see you as ‘right you deal with them idiots in the goal and let us do our job’ sort of thing but the lads listen to him.
“He’s got great knowledge and I think everyone was sad for him to go but it’s a decision he wanted to spend time with his family and at times like these it makes everyone realise that that is important.
“I know it was a hard decision for him because we sat down and had quite a few lengthy chats about it. I know the gaffer was desperate for him to stay but like I said when the situation arises that has just been you sort of realise what’s important and him living a 20-hour flight away from the rest of his family made him think he needs to get back over there and spend as much time with them as possible which is understandable.”
The club moved quickly to fill the void left by Gouldy’s departure as Lancashire-born Mike Pollitt was appointed as PNE’s new goalkeeping coach.
Pollitt, 48, had a long career in the game as a player, featuring most notably for Rotherham United and he also went on to coach there as well as Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.
Speaking about his new mentor, Dec said: “He comes with great experience; I’m really looking forward to tapping into his knowledge. Goalkeeping coaches don’t seem to last too long with me so I’ve worked with quite a few!
“It’s great because every coach has slightly different ways of doing things and slightly different techniques so you learn a lot from everyone. I’m looking forward to getting back in, having a chat and getting back to work.
“I hope that we can just push on from last year and get better. It’s a great appointment from the club, someone with that experience who’s been at the top level for the majority of his career.
“He’ll have all the knowledge that’s needed to pass on and help all us keepers through the season.”
If you missed Rudd’s reaction to winning the club’s Community Player of the Year award then you can read his thoughts by clicking here. We still have more to come from Dec, too, as he speaks to us about the shortened summer break, looking forward to the new Championship season and more on PNE.Com.