Paul Gallagher and David Nugent: Friends reunited at Preston North End!

Paul Gallagher (left) after scoring his second from the spot against Newcastle on Saturday (photo: PA)
Paul Gallagher (left) after scoring his second from the spot against Newcastle on Saturday (photo: PA)

Paul Gallagher has held on to his elder statesman status at Preston despite the arrival of his good mate David Nugent.

Both players are aged 34 but midfielder Gallagher will hit his 35th birthday at the start of September.

Gallagher and Nugent battle for the ball at Deepdale in February when Derby were the visitors (photo: Getty Images)

Gallagher and Nugent battle for the ball at Deepdale in February when Derby were the visitors (photo: Getty Images)

Gallagher was delighted to see Nugent make his return to Deepdale a fortnight ago, 12 years on from his £6m exit to Portsmouth.

The pair were team-mates for a while at Leicester and now link up again.

“Nuge has got more few grey hairs now but I’m still the oldest,” said Gallagher.

“I’ll be 35 well before him but it’s good to have some more experience around the dressing room.

“We were at Leicester and had some good times there, we got on really well on and off the pitch. I used to set up a few of his goals there and hopefully that can happen here too.

“Nuge is the type of player who work his socks off and he will bring his experience to the squad.

“It’s good to have him in the changing room, passing that experience on.

“He’s a familiar face to the fans and they’ve been happy to see him back.”

When Gallagher first came on loan to North End in 2007 from Blackburn, it was to try and help replace Nugent.

That summer, Nugent had left for Portsmouth, and PNE brought in Gallagher to try and plug the gap.

“He went out and I came in on loan – we missed one other,” said Gallagher.

“But I was with him for three or four years down at Leicester.

“Since I came back here, I’ve played against him a few times when he was at Derby and Middlesbrough.

“Nuge is always a handful, he knows where the goal is.

“Wherever he has been in the Championship, Nuge has competed for promotion and play-offs – he knows what that end of the table is all about.”

Nugent pulled on a Preston shirt for the first time since his return in last Friday night’s 1-0 defeat at Fleetwood.

He played the first half of the Highbury clash to ease him back into action after a summer knee operation.

Nugent was one of North End’s brighter sparks in that game – the performance of the team as a whole not great.

Whether he will be fully up to speed to be considered for a seat on the bench at Millwall, remains to be seen.