Keeper Connor Ripley gives Preston North End a boost
In among Preston North End’s lengthy injury list, goalkeeper Connor Ripley was something of a forgotten man.
The focus has tended to be on the outfield players, with Tom Barkhuizen, Brad Potts, Andrew Hughes, Tom Clarke and Brandon Barker among those sidelined.
Ripley returned to the bench for Easter Monday’s 2-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic after a 10-week absence.
He had snapped an ankle ligament playing in a bounce game at the training ground in early February.
At the time, PNE boss Alex Neil predicted Ripley would be ruled out for the rest of the season, so to have him back for the last three games is something of a bonus.
Ripley, 26, has yet to play for North End since arriving in the January transfer window from Middlesbrough.
He had spent the first half of the season on loan from Boro at Accrington Stanley. That was one of eight loan spells he’d had away from Boro over the years.
PNE made their move for Ripley as they looked to reorganise their keeping department.
After Ripley came in, Chris Maxwell was loaned out to Charlton for the rest of the season but he has yet to play for the Addicks.
Michael Crowe was also due to be loaned out to Waterford in the League of Ireland for first-team football but the plug was pulled on that move at the last moment when Ripley was injured.
Crowe was on the bench for 13 games before Ripley came back to cover for Declan Rudd at the DW Stadium.
Rudd has started 36 league games this campaign, with Maxwell playing the other eight before his run was ended by a red card at Ipswich.
In terms of the injuries to the outfield players, it doesn’t look likely that the list will reduce ahead of Sheffield Wednesday’s visit.
Alan Browne was back on the absence list over Easter to help his damaged injury clear up fully.