Preston North End need striker David Nugent’s eye for goal against Middlesbrough

David Nugent missed PNE's defeat to Reading with an eye injury
David Nugent missed PNE's defeat to Reading with an eye injury

Preston are monitoring David Nugent’s vision in the hope he can have an eye for goal against his former club Middlesbrough at Deepdale on New Year’s Day.

The striker suffered an injury to his right eye in the Boxing Day draw at Leeds and missed Sunday’s home defeat to Reading as a result.

With PNE squandering a number of chances in that game, any additional firepower Nugent could bring tomorrow will be welcome.

North End manager Alex Neil said: “We will assess Nuge to see if he is available for this one or not.

“He couldn’t really see out of that eye for a bit. Nuge has been to see the doctor who told him to rest it.

“His eye closed over a little bit so he’s had to be careful with it.

“Nuge did it in the second half at Leeds, just before he come off. He was going to come off anyway because he had worked hard and didn’t have much left.”

Nugent had a 17-month stay with Middlesbrough between August 2015 and January 2017, scoring nine goals for the Teessiders.

He moved on to Derby in a £2.5m transfer and it was after the 34-year-old was released by the Rams in the summer that North End signed him on a Bosman.

Nugent’s start at Leeds last week was his sixth this season, with him having come off the bench eight times.

In the reverse fixture with Boro at the Riverside Stadium, in October, he came on as a substitute.

Neil, meanwhile, has reassessed his view of parts of North End’s defeat to Reading.

In the post-match press conference he had expressed himself content with aspects of the first-half display.

But having watched the game back yesterday morning, he was more critical of some of the things his side had and had not done.

Said Neil: “I’ve watched it back and I didn’t think we played as well in the first half as I thought we had at the time.

“Too many times we were loose in possession.

“I still thought our set-up was good and to be fair Reading struggled to get out at times.

“But when they did get out it was because we gave the ball away in stupid areas.

“I think we made really bad mistakes for the goals.

“It’s a strange one because generally I would like think I see the game for how it gets played. But for some reason on Sunday I thought we were better than we were.

“Maybe it was because of the lack of pressure on the ball from Reading and the fact we were handed a lot of it.

“But certainly having watched it back, we weren’t as good as I thought we were.

“There is plenty to work on from the game.”