ACCRINGTON Stanley are set to lose loan keeper Connor Ripley with Preston North End closing in on a permanent deal for the Middlesbrough man.

Ripley joined the Reds on a season-long loan deal from the Riverside Stadium in August but the switch included a January recall and Boro have opted to cash in on the 25-year-old.

Preston have been on the hunt for a goalkeeper and it was reported that the Deepdale club had made contact with Burnley over a potential loan move for both Tom Heaton and Joe Hart in the last few weeks, but the advances were swiftly rejected by the Turf Moor hierarchy.

And Alex Neill's men have now turned their attention to Ripley, who first emerged as a target last month.

The deal looks likely to be completed in the next 24 hours.

Ripley, son of former Blackburn Rovers and England man Stuart, has been a permanent fixture in the Stanley starting XI this term, making 24 appearances and his departure would be a blow to boss John Coleman.

The Reds have Jonny Maxted and youngster Toby Savin on their books but would likely look to add another goalkeeper should Ripley leave.

One target could be a loan move for Preston's Michael Crowe who played for North End in the FA Cup defeat to Doncaster last weekend.

The 22-year-old joined Preston from Ipswich in the summer but would fall down the pecking order if Ripley arrived.