Assistant manager preview: Ruddy on the Cumbrian Derby

Assistant manager Steven Rudd has described tomorrow’s Cumbrian Derby as ‘no different’ to Reds’ other fixtures in the upcoming run-in.

Speaking at last night’s training session, Danny Grainger’s assistant spoke about being league leaders again, the Kendal Town trip and squad selection.

Back at the top, Reds are the team to beat in the BetVictor Northern Premier League North West Division, but Rudd says it’s the same feeling as when we lead the way for most of the season.

“I don’t think it does, not at this stage,” he said.

“There’s still a long way to go. Other teams have still got a lot of games to catch-up on. It’s good to be at the top, it puts pressure on teams who’ve got to catch us again.

“We’re just taking it game-by-game.”

With weather in Cumbria continuing in adverse fashion, the match at Parkside Road is currently in doubt.

Nevertheless, the first-team are prepared for every eventuality.

“The game might be in doubt but we just prepare as if the game is on and last-minute would change to Plan B.

“We’ve got a facility in place so it’s just a case of on the morning seeing how it is.”

With over 200 travelling supporters expected to back Grainger and Rudd’s men in Kendal, the game has become a hot topic off the pitch.

However, the assistant is aware of the dangers if the occasions begin to shroud the football for Reds.

“If we start playing the occasions in the run-in, it’ll catch us out and we’ll drop points.

“We’ve got 11 other big ones after this Saturday, so it’s no different to Droylsden [a 0-4 win] on Tuesday night.

“It’s no bigger or smaller. It’s a derby; they’ll be up for it and so will we.

“They’re much-improved, so if we underestimate them we’ll come unstuck.”

He also spoke on the anticipated support, saying: “The fans have been great; they’re absolutely brilliant – home and away.

“Even on Tuesday, there was a bus-load who went down, and we expect that now. They’re excellent. They do make a difference and will be our 12th man on Saturday.

With only two men sidelined at the time of writing, Charlie Bowman and Ash Kelly, Reds have a strong and in-form squad to pick from.

The 16-man matchday could therefore lead to some disappointed members at the weekend due to such competition.

“We pick a team every game to win that game,” Rudd explained.

“There’s been surprises lately; Brock’s [Liam Brockbank] been left out, and there’s been a bit of rotation.

“After the games, we start planning the next one. We didn’t start thinking about Kendal until after Tuesday and it is good to see lads back.

“Tinners [Conor Tinnion] is back fully training now, Nath [Nathan Waterston] will be back in Saturday, Sam Smith will be back in Saturday.

“There will be two, if not three lads, who miss out. They won’t not be in the squad because they’re not good enough, it’ll be because we want good competition.

“We said since pre-season, we’ll win the league as a group, not the 11 lads that play.

“Jordan came in on Tuesday – Sam Smith couldn’t travel – and he was probably Man of the Match.

“The lads know if they’re not in Saturday, there’ll be in another game because they’ll be fighting for places.”

Kick-off tomorrow is at 3pm.

Please look out for any updates on a potential postponement announcements and arrive in good time due to the turnstiles expected to be busy.

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