Club open contract talks with 28-yr-old wanted by Rangers in January - Ibrox Exclusive

Preston North End have opened new contract talks with goalkeeper Declan Rudd in a bid to fend off strong Rangers interest, Football Insider understands.

The Scottish giants are weighing up a move for the 28-year-old after impressing for Championship surprise package Preston this season.

A Preston source has told Football Insider that the club are keeping are keen to keep hold of Rudd and negotiations are underway on a new deal to replace his agreement that expires next summer.

Preston are reluctant to lose Rudd on a potential free transfer and are trying to persuade him to stay at Deepdale by offering a long-term contract.

This comes after Football Insider revealed last month that Rangers are plotting a January move for the in-form keeper.

The Light Blues are considering their goalkeeping options at Ibrox with current No.1 Allan McGregor turning 38 in January and back-up keeper Wes Foderingham out of contract at the end of the season.

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Rangers know they can land Rudd for a bargain fee in the winter window or agree a pre-contract deal from January with him to join next season.

They did similar in January of this year when agreeing pre-contracts with Glen Kamara and Jordan Jones.

Rudd is emerging as one of the best goalkeepers in English football outside of the Premier League.

He has been an ever-present for Preston in the Championship this term and has been instrumental in helping them to a surprise second spot in the table.

The former Norwich goalkeeper has kept four clean sheets and conceded only 16 goals in 15 Championship games to boost Preston’s unlikely promotion bid.

McGregor is firmly established as the first choice in Steven Gerrard’s side, while Foderingham has had to play second fiddle for the last season-and-a-half.

In other Rangers news, it can be REVEALED that the club’s senior stars have been left open-mouthed by rarely-seen Bear’s “scintillating” performances in training.