Preston North End have completed the permanent signing of Middlesbrough goalkeeper Connor Ripley.
The 25-year-old stopper has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal at Deepdale, after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee.
Connor was out on loan at Accrington Stanley in the first half of the season and was recalled by Boro to allow for the transfer to take place.
The former England youth international custodian has been given the No.25 shirt and will be available for selection for the weekend’s game with Swansea City, subject to clearance from the footballing authorities.
Speaking after putting pen to paper, the Middlesbrough-born man said: “I’ve played here before and I have really enjoyed the stadium, it is beautiful. The fans are good and I’m looking forward to getting started now.
“It is a special position. Not many people like to be a goalkeeper and not many can be. Unfortunately, there is only one position and we all have to fight for it. Declan Rudd is a great goalkeeper and I need to fight for my position.
“I have not come here to do nothing. I am here to play and to play a pivotal part in the season. I will do my best on the training pitch and try and prove to the players and the manager I should be in the team.”
The capture of Connor is manager Alex Neil’s fourth of the January transfer window, joining Josh Ginnelly, Jayden Stockley and Brad Potts and the PNE boss believes he has signed players who can make an impact within the squad.
He added: “I have known of Connor for a while. He was up at Motherwell as a kid and he is highly thought of at Middlesbrough. He will add competition for places for us.
“He is a bubbly character and hopefully that will rub off on some of the other lads as well and he can settle into the squad and show what he can do. I would expect him to integrate quickly and we think he can be a really good acquisition for us.
“It is important for their confidence that we have brought in players who have been playing regularly and performing well. Hopefully they can come here, show our lads what they have got, break into the team and show everyone what they can do.”