David Nugent has eyes on Preston North End’s Carabao Cup clash with Man City

David Nugent wearing a Manchester City shirt following Preston's FA Cup defeat in February 2007
David Nugent wearing a Manchester City shirt following Preston's FA Cup defeat in February 2007

Preston striker David Nugent hopes his return to fitness can give him the chance to have some involvement in the big clash with Manchester City next week.

The last time PNE met City, Nugent found the back of the net – that was in February 2007 in the FA Cup.

He gave them the lead that day at Deepdale, City hitting back to win 3-1 with two goals in the last five minutes.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since that game, Nugent still a month away from his one England cap when that fifth-round tie was played.

After 12 years away from North End, he is now back at the club and champing at the bit to get back in the first-team frame after injury.

Nugent told the Lancashire Post: “I was the last Preston player to score against City. We took the lead that day after about five minutes but we got beaten 3-1.

“Scoring the goal was nice and if called upon this time, I would like to score again.

“City are a lot different now – what a team they are.”

Nugent had 12 years away from Deepdale before returning in the summer on a Bosman after leaving Derby.

In between he had spells at Portsmouth, Burnley (loan), Leicester City and Middlesbrough.

On Tuesday night he played 45 minutes of North End’s Lancashire Senior Cup win over Chorley, a step forward in proving his fitness after a month out with a calf strain.

While out injured Nugent has been a spectator, watching PNE’s good start to the campaign from the stand.

“It has been a fantastic start to the season, 13 points and three points off the top of the table,” said Nugent.

“The home form has been excellent with four wins out of four here. Now we’ve 
got to get the away form going, be a bit more consistent.

“A few more points on the road would be good.

“It’s a hard division we are in, I have got a good pedigree in this league with promotion and play-offs.

“That is why I came here, I know we have the players 
and the ability to get high up the table and push for promotion.

“It is a hungry squad – we have seen that at home 
this season with the lads playing some excellent football.”

North End boss Alex Neil was pleased to see Nugent in action in midweek.

Neil said: “To be honest I have rushed him back a bit.

“The game against Chorley probably came a week early in an ideal scenario.

“But Nuge felt he was ready and robust enough to get 45 minutes in his legs.

“It was good for him to get the game and hopefully he can push on from here and get more involvement.”