Keeper Connor Ripley delighted to play the full game for Preston North End at AFC Fylde

Preston goalkeeper Connor Ripley during the win against AFC Fylde
Preston goalkeeper Connor Ripley during the win against AFC Fylde

Connor Ripley became the first player in the Preston squad to be pushed through 90 minutes this pre-season in the victory against AFC Fylde.

The outfield players are getting more of a gradual build-up but keeper Ripley was happy to play the whole of the 4-0 win at Mill Farm.

It could be that Declan Rudd starts Tuesday’s game at Chorley (7pm) as North End manager Alex Neil looks to give both of the current senior keepers equal time.

Ripley, told the Lancashire Post: “It was great getting 90 minutes, it was about getting a feel for the whole game.

“Probably Dec will play the next one and get 90 minutes – we are competing with one another.

“It was a good game against Fylde, the clean sheet was pleasing from my point of view and we played the best we have done in pre-season so far.

“We were dominant and at times played some really good football.

“I had a bit of work to do when I made a save near to the end of the game.

“Their lad hit it quickly, tried to catch me off guard so it was a case of getting the arm up quickly to tip it over.”

Ripley, 26, was a January signing from Middlesbrough but had spent the first half of last season at Accrington on loan.

Less than a month after his arrival, he damaged an ankle ligament in a bounce game at the training ground.

Ripley only returned to the bench at Easter and started the final games of the season against Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford.

So he has not had the time to catch the eye so far.

“It was great to play the last two games of the season,” said Ripley.

“But if I’m being honest with myself I couldn’t say that I was 100% sharp for those two games.

“I feel good now, I’m in good shape and ready to compete.

“During pre-season it is about working hard, getting the sharpness and getting your eye back in as a keeper.

“Myself and Dec both have to show what we can do.

“At the end of the day it is one position and that is the life of a goalkeeper.

“Although we are friends we want the same spot.”

It is a return to Victory Park for North End on Tuesday evening, the Chorley fixture not having been on the pre-season list for the last two summers.

Those players who came on as substitutes at the hour mark at Fylde are likely to start against National League new boys Chorley.