Frankie McAvoy has led Preston North End in three games so far, yielding four points. Even though it’s early days his team selections have given us an idea of what the future may hold for some players.
Whilst Billy Bodin and Louis Moult have returned to the squad after long injuries, their departures look inevitable in the summer. But it is another player who hasn’t even been on the bench under McAvoy who looks to be coming to the end of his Preston career.
Connor Ripley has been the understudy to Declan Rudd since his arrival from Middlesbrough in January 2019. His was a signing that was welcomed as it was felt Rudd needed someone to push him for the number one shirt. He arrived with good pedigree as well after some promising loan spells at Motherwell, Oldham Athletic and Accrington Stanley.
He has been given a few chances in cup games but hasn’t made the most of them. Norwich City in the FA Cup last year was a particularly bad game and Rudd has never been troubled by him.
In the last three games he hasn’t even made the bench with Mathew Hudson being the substitute goalkeeper. Hudson, now 22, made his one and only appearance for North End back in December 2015 as a replacement for Jordan Pickford who was sent off against Leeds. He was handed a new contract last summer which ties him down till 2022.
With Rudd returning to training recently and the club most probably keen to retain Daniel Iversen, Ripley will be looking for a move to become the number one somewhere else. His spells in League One will stand him in good stead, and some Peterborough fans suggested him as an emergency loan to stand in for Chris Pym who was ruled out for the season. Instead they brought in Josef Bursik from Stoke City.
It hasn’t worked out for Connor at Deepdale and if Iversen can be kept on, the Dane and Rudd will provide a great battle for a starting place next season.