'I can't see myself being back at Dundee FC': Raith Rovers' loan striker and ex-Rangers star Zak Rudden reckons his time may be up at Dens Park

After reportedly being deemed ‘surplus to requirements’ by Dundee gaffer Tony Docherty and loaned to Raith Rovers until the end of the season when being pushed down the Scottish Premiership outfit’s pecking order following the January signing of Curtis Main, striker Zak Rudden has told the Fife Free Press he doesn’t expect to be playing at his parent club ’Dee next season.
Zak Rudden (right) battles against Raith Rovers' Ross Millen when the current Raith loan striker was playing for Dundee last season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)Zak Rudden (right) battles against Raith Rovers' Ross Millen when the current Raith loan striker was playing for Dundee last season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)
Zak Rudden (right) battles against Raith Rovers' Ross Millen when the current Raith loan striker was playing for Dundee last season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)

The 6ft 2’ forward, 24, whose long list of ex-clubs (including loans) features Rangers, Falkirk, Plymouth Argyle, Partick Thistle and St Johnstone, is under contract with the Dark Blues until summer 2025 but doesn’t reckon he will stick around at Den’s Park until then.

"I've been told umpteen different things by Dundee,” said Rudden, who has featured twice for Ian Murray’s Raith team in recent losses to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Airdrieonians.

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"Supposedly I was allowed to go on loan and then I was allowed to permanently leave so it's one of those ones where I'm at Raith at the moment so I concentrate on them.

"That's the only thing I want to do just now. Everything else is just outside noise. By the end of the season I will take it from there and see what happens.

"But I can't see myself being at Dundee. I literally don't know what’s going to happen. That's something to look at at the end of the season.

"If everything goes well at Raith Rovers I wouldn't be averse to staying here next season."

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Rudden - who lasted only 36 minutes of Raith’s 1-0 home SPFL Trust semi-final loss to Airdrieonians after going off with a hamstring problem – is very keen to get a regular run of games with the Kirkcaldy side after a nomadic career which already sees him starring for his seventh different team in his early 20s.

While he thoroughly enjoyed productive spells at Falkirk and Partick, the same can’t be said of his brief tenure on loan at Plymouth from Rangers in the 2019-20 season, when he netted three times in 19 appearances.

He said: "My career has been a rollercoaster but that's football in a way. It's just not really worked out at a couple of places.

“When I went to Plymouth, I'd just come back from a very serious knee injury and it never really worked out the way I wanted. But I had kind of got pushed down there quite quickly.

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"The boys are all athletes down there, big, strong, quick. But I wouldn't say the standard was much different from what we deal with up here, especially now that I've played in the Scottish Premiership.

"But at that time it was a very good step up. I never played a lot but that was because I had setbacks. Two weeks in I had to come back up because I had a Baker's cyst on the back of my knee, from my surgery.

"It had swollen up and it was causing my knee to have problems again. So I came back up to Rangers to fix it because the physio down there was quite useless. He was saying there was nothing really wrong with me but I knew there was.

"My knee was up massively, three times the size it should be. So I came back up, saw the doctor and physios at Rangers, stayed with them for a week and a bit then headed back down to Plymouth. Then when I really wanted to settle in down there, I had family problems I had to come back up for and I never really settled properly.

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"In terms of dealing with the physicality side, I probably was a bit off, but on the football side I probably was there.

"It was just that mentally in the head I was not there in Plymouth any more so I came back up the road.

"I think if you go down there you kind of want to settle in for a month or two, but that didn't happen and I had to come back up in two weeks and then in another two weeks.

“Then it was kind of like: 'Well I don't want to be here any more'.

"I missed Scotland. I was 19 years old away down to the furthest place you can go in England basically and it was the first time I'd been away from family so it was very tough.”

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