Nugent, scorer of 37 goals in 107 appearances during a two-and-a-half year stay with PNE, joined the Rams in January from Middlesbrough for £2m.
His first month at Derby was spent on the bench but he has started their last two games, scoring in the 2-1 win over Barnsley on Saturday. Nugent spearheaded a 4-2-3-1 formation against Barnsley, a system Steve McClaren changed to in a bid to halt a seven-game winless run.
Nugent said: “That was a lot better from us. We changed formation and tried to go a bit more attacking. Every time we had changed the formation in the second half of previous games, we’d done pretty well.
“It took us quite a while to get used to it but we grew into it and fully deserved it in the end.”
Preston North End boss provides injury update on Manchester United loanee and addresses specualtion linking them to another Red Devils youngster
Manchester United youngster being tested by Preston North End on a 'daily basis' after sparkling debut
The best fans photos from Preston North End's 4-1 win over Huddersfield Town in the Carabao Cup.
Wigan remain Championship relegation candidates but bookies' odds drift for Preston North End and Blackpool
Preston North End debutant talks making the step up, learning from Robbie Brady and Alvaro Fernandez and this only being the beginning
Derby sit a point and a place behind PNE, both clubs now very much outsiders when it comes to pushing for the play-offs.
February proved to be a miserable month for the Rams, with four defeats in the league, two draws and an FA Cup exit.
McClaren’s men will now be hoping the victory over Barnsley has got them on the right track.
They had to come from behind to win that one, Tom Ince equalising before Nugent struck.