STUART Rudd is gunning for 50 goals this season in a bid to smash the North West Counties League record.
The FC United hit man has already rattled in 21 goals in 17 appearances this season, so he is already well on his way to beating his personal best of 47, set last season while playing for Skelmersdale United.
Rudd helped himself to a hattrick at the weekend as the league leaders blasted eight goals past hapless Squires Gate at Gigg Lane.
But he is already looking over his shoulder at strike partner Rory Patterson, who returned to form with four goals in the first half to take his own tally to 13.
The two of them have helped to fire FC 10 points clear at the top of the league, as they seek a second successive promotion and eye a place in the UniBond League’s first division.
Rudd believes he is on track to match the first division record of 50 set by Cammell Laird’s Ronnie Morgan last season. Morgan also hit 53 the season before, when Cammell Laird were in the second division.
“I always set myself a target of 20 to 25 goals by Christmas,” said former Wigan Athletic trainee Rudd, who hit 47 last season and 46 the season before, both with Skelmersdale United.
“Then you have four months left, playing every week, so you should reach 35 to 40. But the way I have started off this season, I don’t like putting a figure on it.
“I’d love to get 50. It’s something I have always had in mind because it hasn’t been done too often in the North West Counties.
“The lad from Cammell Laird scored a couple more than me last season, but he played about 19 games more.”
With just over two months of the season played, Rudd has already passed FC’s goal-scoring record for the season, set by Patterson with 19 last season.
But he is already casting a glance over his shoulder at Patterson, with whom he is developing a frightening partnership.
“When I first came to the club I had heard a lot about Rory, and one or two people said we were too much alike,” said Rudd.
“But we both do different things. I am powerful in the air, and hold it up, while he is a more skilful, delicate kind of player.”