Lilywhites boss Neil stuck with Declan Rudd who had started the previous nine Championship games.
Ripley, who completed his move from Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, was on the bench.
Neil said: “The issue we had with Connor is that he had only trained with us once on Friday.
“People think it is easy to fling players straight in.
“If that was the case I would spend half my time in the house rather than putting a team together.
“In terms of getting your team ready and organised there is a lot more detail and work that goes into it rather than just flinging players in.
“We operate in a certain type of way which means everyone has to understand their specific role.
“Take Callum Robinson, he is probably the best example of that.
“You look how well he has done for us this year but last season I dropped him out for 11 games.
“The reason for that was he wasn’t doing what we had asked of him.
“But this season before his injury he had scored 10 goals and had arguably been our best player.”
With Ripley watching from the bench, Rudd turned in a very decent display.
He made a good save late in the first half to parry Bersant Celina’s deflected shot.
It could be argued that Rudd did enough to stay in the team for Saturday’s visit to Queens Park Rangers.
In the warm-up before the Swansea game, Michael Crowe was the extra pair of hands.
Crowe had played in the FA Cup loss to Doncaster Rovers the week before.
North End would like to loan him out to get games under his belt.
Ripley was one of three new buys in the matchday squad, Brad Potts and Jayden Stockley given their debuts.
The pair had signed the week before, with Neil getting the time to work with them on the training pitch.
But he did not include Josh Ginnelly on the bench, the winger having been the first January signing.
Ginnelly, 21, is regarded as a work in progress but he will get his chance.
It was a much stronger bench against Swansea than of late – Ginnelly was not the only first-team player to miss out, Brandon Barker, Graham Burke and Calum Woods also sitting it out.