Preston are back in action this weekend, taking on Reading at the Madejski Stadium as the play-off chase continues.

Alex Neil’s side are 12 games unbeaten, and come out of the international break refreshed and raring to go. The likes of Callum Robinson and Louis Moult have had more time to get up to speed, and another boost has materialised.

Goalkeeper Connor Ripley has returned to full training, as North End have confirmed on their official website.

The shot-stopper joined North End from Middlesbrough in January, having impressed on loan at Accrington Stanley. Signed as competition for Declan Rudd and as a replacement for Chris Maxwell, Ripley appeared a solid signing.

Connor Ripley at Burton Albion. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Yet in a behind-closed-doors game, Ripley suffered a cruel blow. He tore ankle ligaments in January, leaving some to believe that his season was already over.

However, the 26-year-old is back in full training again, giving him an outside shot at a Preston debut this term. He’s unlikely to supplant Rudd on form, but you never know when a goalkeeper will be called upon.

Ripley’s return will give Neil extra protection on the bench, as he’s a much more accomplished goalkeeper than current deputy Michael Crowe. Saturday’s trip to Reading may be a little too soon for a bench spot, but expect to see Ripley in the matchday squad again soon.

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