After a series of loan moves in recent years – the latest being at Accrington Stanley, where he made 24 appearances, and caught the eye of Preston – his career with now continue with a full-time move to Deepdale.

It brings to an end what has been a near decade-long stay at Boro for Ripley, a player who had previously been registered with Blackburn Rovers.

Ripley made just two appearances for Boro – his debut coming from the bench when he replaced Jason Steele at Reading in March 2011 – but he has clocked over 140 career starts during seven different loan spells.

The former England U20 international had short stints with Oxford and Bradford City before joining Swedish side Ostersund FK. He made 40 appearances for Motherwell in 2015/16 and followed that by breaking Oldham’s club record for the most clean sheets in a season (18) during a season-long loan in 2016/17.

Last term, he made five appearances for Burton Albion during the first half of the season, and 16 for Bury in the New Year.

Last summer, he joined Accrington Stanley, where he was a near ever present for the League One side.

Connor departs with the best wishes of everyone at Middlesbrough Football Club.