Declan Rudd celebrates his 29th birthday today, but his future at Preston remains a touch unclear.

The Preston stopper is out of contract at the end of the season, and there has been little update about his situation of late. We understand he was spoken to about a new deal earlier this season, but no contract has been signed.

That leaves North End vulnerable to losing Rudd. That may not have seemed like such a disaster last summer, but he’s actually been one of our more consistent players of late, and the woeful display of Connor Ripley against Norwich City showed just how important Rudd really is.

Declan Rudd of Preston North End. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

He’s been linked with a couple of moves of late, most recently West Ham United. Football Insider suggested on Sunday that new Hammers boss David Moyes was eyeing Rudd in case a deal for Darren Randolph fell through.

Randolph had medical issues in his move from Middlesbrough to West Ham, and Moyes – two years after taking Jordan Hugill to West Ham from North End – was allegedly keen on Rudd as an alternative.

However, West Ham finally confirmed the signing of Randolph on Wednesday, meaning a bid for Rudd looks unlikely. Moyes also has Lukasz Fabianski, David Martin and Roberto Jimenez at his disposal, so there’s no need for another goalkeeper.

Darren Randolph signs for West Ham United. (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

Still, with just a few months left on his deal, Rudd’s situation is lingering a little. This rumour was likely an agent trying to drum up interest in Rudd, but served to show the risk North End are running.

He may not be the best stopper in the Championship, but he has been solid this season – and losing him would be a blow, especially given the poor quality of the stoppers behind him in the Preston pecking order.

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