Preston’s move to bring Jonathan Gould back to the club appeared to come out of nowhere, but the results so far seem pretty impressive.
Just a day after the 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic, Preston confirmed Gould’s return. The 51-year-old arrived to aid Jack Cudworth in the goalkeeping department, with a more experienced coach wanted.
Gould ticked the boxes. He’s familiar with Preston as a club and as a city having joined North End from Celtic in 2003. He has plenty of experience as a goalkeeping coach too, recently working under Tony Pulis at West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough.
Gould’s return came as a surprise, but Declan Rudd has been pretty solid so far this season. Hopefully this continues, and that he can use his experience to help Rudd, the other goalkeepers and even Cudworth.
When working at Middlesbrough, Gould coached North End stopper Connor Ripley. The 26-year-old hasn’t been able to displace Rudd so far, but Gould has talked him up.
Gould has told the club’s official website that he knows Ripley’s personality well, and feels their familiarity will help the goalkeeper develop. Gould ultimately feels that Ripley can be a ‘very, very capable goalkeeper’ for North End, even if he’s currently stuck as second choice.
“I had about 12 or 18 months with Connor [Ripley] at Middlesbrough, so I know his personality and I think that will help try and develop Connor into a very very capable goalkeeper for this club,” said Gould.
Ripley doesn’t look like replacing Rudd any time soon, but may have cup opportunities to impress Alex Neil. It’s too soon to write him off, and maybe reuniting him with Gould can help him fulfil his potential at Deepdale.