Preston North End’s No.1, Declan Rudd, looks back on his time with the Canaries, updates on his injury and gives us his thoughts ahead of Frankie McAvoy’s first game as interim head coach.
The Lilywhites’ goalkeeper came through the Canaries Academy and is disappointed not to have the chance to continue his own cathartic battle with his hometown club, but he says he is making progress from the knee injury that has ruled him out for the last few months.
“It is doing well,” he told iFollow PNE. “It is feeling the best it has done; I am really starting to progress with the stuff I am doing. It has been a testing three months, but I am hoping to be outside in the next week or so, to get going again. I am just waiting for the nice weather and then I’ll be back out!
“My cartilage popped out, in between the two bones and was lodged in behind my knee cap, which locked my knee up. It wasn’t nice and for about five weeks I was on the highest painkillers you can be on – liquid morphine and stuff – because it was so painful; I couldn’t move my leg for five weeks.
“It wasn’t great, but it makes you appreciate when you are back to feeling good again, how good it feels.”
Dec played under Alex Neil at both Carrow Road and Deepdale and admits the last couple of weeks have been difficult, but the side must now move on: “It is hard because I was with Alex for three years and Norwich and four years here, so we grew quite a strong relationship.
“Seeing things not going well is hard sitting on the sidelines watching, especially not being able to influence – I am not saying me being involved on the pitch would make any difference, but at least I would know I could do my bit to help out.
“It has been tough. No one wants to see what has happened happen, but it has and Frankie has come in and I have not been out there to help Frankie either.
“We are such a tight knit group here and not being out there with the lads it tough. I have had my say – I say my bit, but when you are injured it is hard to come in and say too much, because you are not there.
“There is a lot of respect between us as players and in the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of trying to get the lads going again and get some confidence back in. When you go through a run like this, it takes the confidence away and it takes away what you are good at on the pitch.
“It has been a bit of a rebuilding job for everyone, for the last week or so and hopefully we can kick on and get going for the rest of the season.”
It won’t just be the custodian who is coming up against a former employer this Good Friday, with Frankie McAvoy in charge of PNE for the first time against the club who gave him his first coaching job in England.
“Norwich gave Frankie a massive opportunity in the game by bringing him to the club with Alex and they both took it with both hand and made a really good job of it,” continued Dec.
“I know they both have a lot of respect for the club, but you always want to get one over on your ex-team, me being a boyhood Norwich fan and being there for 12 years, every time I step on the pitch against Norwich, I want to make sure that I win.
“It is a strange feeling, but you have a job to do for your team and it is also in the back of my mind the team that told me I wasn’t good enough and got rid of me, so I always want to get one over on them.
“But we have a big task ahead of us. I know Norwich have been on a great run, sitting at the top of the league, and we been on the opposite run, falling from where we should be, so, hopefully, it is now time to turn it around.
“I know Frankie has got the lads going over the last week and the lads are excited and it is always the best to play against the best teams in the league, because it brings the best out of you and you can show everyone what you have got and what you are made of.
“It is going to be a good game, but, as I always say, it is just another game and I am gutted I can’t be a part of it and play in it, but I will try and do my bit from where I am in and around the squad.”
There’s another half of the interview as the stopper speaks about previous games against Daniel Farke’s side, his own support of the Norfolk club and about his love of his current club, just click on the video at the top of the page to watch the full ten minute-plus chat.
You can watch the full game live and exclusively on iFollow PNE this Good Friday, with former North End defender Michael Jackson alongside Jonathan Breeze for the first game under interim head coach Frankie McAvoy – on air from 2.30pm; click here now to sign up for a match pass for just £10.