Goalkeeper Connor Ripley likely to be heading for Preston North End exit door in January

Connor Ripley’s recent loan spell away from Preston North End looks set to land him a move away from Deepdale in the January transfer window.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 4th December 2021, 8:00 am

The goalkeeper returned to PNE this week after spending six weeks on an emergency loan at Salford City.

Ripley, 28, made nine appearances for the Ammies and his game time there has not done him any harm.

It is understood that two clubs – in League One and League Two – have been in contact with North End about a January deal for Ripley.

Connor Ripley’s PNE contract expires in the summer

Whether a permanent move or loan, it would take him to the end of his contract with the Lilywhites.

Ripley joined PNE from Middlesbrough in January 2019 but has pulled on the keeper’s jersey only 10 times.

Only three of those were Championship matches, the final two games of the 2018/19 campaign and the first of the 2020/21 season.

His last competitive game for North End was against Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup in January.

Salford moved for Ripley in the middle of October after their first-choice goalkeeper Tom King was injured.

The EFL gave them the green light to sign him on a seven-day emergency loan outside of the transfer window.

That loan was extended on a week-by-week basis but King regaining fitness brought Ripley’s loan to an end.

He was back training with North End at Euxton this week but is not registered with their 25-man squad.

Ripley can play in the Central League but it was Mathew Hudson who featured in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Morecambe – Ripley watched the game from the sidelines after training.

At the moment Hudson is the cover for Daniel Iversen while Declan Rudd recovers after minor knee surgery.

A January move would get Ripley playing again and off the Deepdale wage bill.

Other outgoing business is expected at North End during the January window.

They want to get Josh Harrop games. Like Ripley, he is not registered in the squad.

Harrop has been carrying an injury since early in the season and has not played in any reserve games.

The midfielder was an unused substitute at Mansfield in the Carabao Cup and in August’s league game against Swansea, that before the deadline for squads needing to be registered with the EFL.

If North End want to do some incoming business they will ideally need to lighten the squad numbers and wage bill.

The senior squad is capped at 25 players (including loanees of any age) by EFL rules but there is no limit on the number of players under 21 which clubs can carry.