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Steven Rudd: Good to be back

Assistant first-team manager Steven Rudd says it’s ‘good to be back’ training with Reds again following the lifting of lockdown guidelines.

Rudd will begin his second season as Danny Grainger’s right-hand man once the FA declare an official starting date for the 2020-21 season and has been speaking about all things seniors and youth.

Following last Tuesday night’s training session in Penrith, we caught up with ‘Ruddy’ as he firstly expressed his delight on football being back.

“Training’s not the same without the contact and things like that but it’s good to be back!

“Especially on the social side of things; it gets us all out of the house.”

“We’ve been texting out challenges on a Sunday for the week ahead, two of them are compulsory and two of them optional.

“Some of the lads have been off work so they’ve had more time than others.”

“We’ve mixed it up; done some short, sharp ones, longer distance ones and body circuits which the lads can video.

“We’ve also created leaderboards which keeps it fun and interesting, which is the hardest part.

“Credit to the lads for doing them as they’ve come back in good nick.”

With plenty of players at the three training sessions under the belt so far, the first-team squad looks healthy with two new faces involved.

Every fit member of last season’s squad re-signed this summer, something Ruddy is assured was the right decision.

“If it’s not broken, don’t try and fix it. I know some people can’t wait to sign five or six players every year but there’s not been a need to.

“It’s all for competition, we want to have two lads fighting for every place. If you’re not doing the business, you won’t be playing – it’s as simple as that.”

Those additions have come in the form of two front men, Ruben Jerome and Louis Potts.

“Potty’s a good young player from Preston North End who’s got good reviews from their academy staff, so we’re excited about him.

“With Ruben, we know all about from playing against us and scorning last season. He’s a different option to what we have.

“We expect the pair of them to come in and do really well!”

Ruddy hasn’t just been with the first-team either. Grainger’s number two has been helping out the Development Squad as they embark on a new adventure this upcoming campaign.

This term presents a fresh challenge, which the former Carlisle United youth coach explained.

“The Development Squad have changed leagues, they’ve gone into the local county league.

“The reason for that is we want a really young team, the majority of which are under 18.”

“The problems we had with the last league was that the midweek away games to Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and around Lancashire were an issue with school and college travelling-wise.”

Ruddy went onto say: “They’re a good group of lads with a lot potential.

We think that in the longer-term, when you look at our league, a lot of teams are physical, it’s very rare we come up against an academy-like side who are small and technical.

“So we think it’ll do the 16 and 17-year-olds the world of good for their development. The young boys will get a lot from it, it’ll be a fight and a battle every week which is what they need if they want to play at higher level like the first team.

“It also helps get our reputation out there locally, playing around the country and can be a bit of scouting for us to attract players around the area.”

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