Connor Ripley says he's delighted to be back at Rockliffe Park from an 'eventful' loan spell with Oldham Athletic and believes he's now ready to fight for a place in Boro's starting XI next season.

The goalkeeper spent the 2016/17 season in League One at Oldham, where he established himself as a fan favourite and an impenetrable force in goal.

"It was eventful," said the keeper. 

"I was the fifth signing at the beginning of the season so it was difficult and we struggled for the first half of the season but then got a new manager and changed it about a bit. 

"We survived the drop and that's what we aimed for. Personally I think it was the best season I've had."

Ripley managed 18 shut-outs during his time at Boundary Park, breaking the club record for the number of clean sheets kept in a season.

He also swept up at the club's End of Season awards this week, being crowned Young Player of the Season and Player of the Season by two separate fan groups. 

"We broke the record for the most clean sheets in a season and I won Young Player of the Year and another two awards so it was pretty good," said Ripley.

"I thoroughly enjoyed myself there. The fans were amazing to me and I can't thank them enough.

"I've taken a lot of experience. I've played nearly 100 games and for Oldham I played over 50. 

"That was great for me and it was week in, week out playing in difficult conditions against different teams and on different pitches. 

"The pitches aren't like the Championship or Premier League. I was playing on a bog at one point which was tough."

The Boro academy graduate spent the previous season at Motherwell in the Scottish Professional Football League and has also cut his teeth as a young pro in Sweden with Östersunds in 2014.

Now at 24-years-old and with a year left on his contract at Boro, Ripley says he is focused solely on becoming number one at the Riverside.

"I've learnt a lot about myself in the past two years," he said. "I've matured as a person and a player on the pitch. 

"It's great to be back with the lads and doing a little bit of training [at Rockliffe Park] then I'm going away. 

"Next season is a big one for me. I want to stay here and fight for my position. 

"I think I've done the hard work going out on loan to Sweden, Scotland and now Manchester. Now it's time for me to be a Boro player and fight for my position."