Keeper Connor Ripley looks to be heading for Preston North End exit

Preston North End look set to give their keeper department a summer shake-up as they chase a fresh loan deal for Daniel Iversen.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites are in talks with Leicester about getting Iversen back after the Dane made such a good impression in the second half of last season.

Were they to land Iversen, it would leave them with four senior keepers – Iversen, Declan Rudd, Mathew Hudson and Connor Ripley.

They have also taken on Oliver Lombard on a pro deal after he completed his scholarship.

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PNE keeper Connor Ripley

So it is likely to mean the end of the road for Ripley at Deepdale.

Things have not worked for 28-year-old Ripley since signing from Middlesbrough in January 2019 – that on the back of a strong loan spell with Accrington Stanley. He suffered an ankle injury in a training game soon after joining and only returned in time to play the last two games of the 2018/19 campaign.

During the 2019/20 season, Ripley was restricted to three Carabao Cup games and one in the FA Cup – Rudd an ever present in the league.

Ripley’s one league outing in the season just finished was on the opening day against Swansea City.

When Rudd suffered a knee injury in early January, North End moved to sign Iversen on loan, Ripley having to continue to act as back-up.

He has a year left on his contract, so securing a move away in the coming weeks looks best for all parties.

Should Iversen return, Rudd will provide his competition now that he is recovered from the surgery which was required to repair damaged cartilage.

Hudson would provide cover as third choice but could do with first-team games to help his development. He did have a loan spell with Bamber Bridge during last season, one which ended when non-league football at that level of the pyramid was curtailed.

His one first-team game for PNE came back in December 2015, appearing as a sub when Jordan Pickford was sent off in a game at Leeds.

Hudson, who turns 23 at the end of July, is a home-grown player and Championship clubs must have one in their 25-man squad which is registered with the EFL.

Josh Earl is another home-grown player, the left-back due back for pre-season training after a loan spell with Burton Albion.

First-year pro Lombard, one of four scholars taken on together with Lewis Coulton, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson and Joe Rodwell-Grant, could get a spell out on loan.

But competitive action can still come in the youth team, with the age limit in the North West Alliance raised to Under-19s for next season.

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