Preston North End goalkeeper Connor Ripley on standby for Championship opener against Swansea

Preston North End’s goalkeeper position was a constant last season with Declan Rudd playing all 46 Championship games.
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Ahead of the kick-off to the 2020/21 campaign, though, injury is threatening Rudd’s unbroken tenure between the posts.

He has not featured in any of the friendlies due to a problem with a quad muscle and Connor Ripley is in line to start against Swansea City at Deepdale on Saturday.

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Ripley has been given a decent amount of action during the pre-season with an eye clearly on the start of the league campaign.

Preston North End goalkeeper Connor RipleyPreston North End goalkeeper Connor Ripley
Preston North End goalkeeper Connor Ripley

He played an hour of the 3-1 win at Salford before giving way to Mathew Hudson.

It worked the other way around at Tranmere, Hudson starting with Ripley coming off the bench.

Ripley, 27, was the choice for the 4-0 win over Mansfield in the Carabao Cup – the first-round tie squashed in among the friendlies.

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He got 90 minutes against Burnley at Deepdale last Tuesday before Hudson took the gloves for the full game at Sheffield United on Friday.

Connor Ripley during PNE's Carabao Cup win over Mansfield at DeepdaleConnor Ripley during PNE's Carabao Cup win over Mansfield at Deepdale
Connor Ripley during PNE's Carabao Cup win over Mansfield at Deepdale

For the trip to Goodison Park on Saturday, Ripley was back between the posts.

It’s been far from plain sailing for Ripley since being signed from Middlesbrough in January 2019 – a loan spell at Accrington was cut short to allow the deal to go through.

He suffered an ankle injury in a bounce game soon after arriving and was out for almost three months.

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Ripley played the final two league games of the 2018/19 season but has been limited to cup football since.

His last competitive game was the 4-2 home defeat to Norwich City in the FA Cup in January.

It was not his finest day it has to be said, which he admitted in an interview with Preston’s official website last week.

“Unfortunately the Norwich game didn’t go very well for me,” said Ripley.

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“I had to pick myself up and dust myself down and with playing these few games, my confidence is growing.”

PNE have Hudson as cover for Ripley, the 22-year-old having signed a new contract during lockdown.

Hudson still has only the one first-team appearance for PNE under his belt, with that coming nearly five years ago as a substitute against Leeds.

How close Rudd is to full fitness, Preston have not said.

With him having such an impressive season and clearly the No.1 choice, it is hoped he will be back soon for the busy run of fixtures.