Striker David Nugent is nearing a second Preston North End debut

Preston North End striker David Nugent
Preston North End striker David Nugent

Returning hero David Nugent says his first game back in a Preston shirt is getting closer.

The 34-year-old striker has spent the past week getting up to speed with the PNE fitness staff after surgery on his knee earlier in the summer.

There is a possibility he could play some part in one of the two pre-season friendlies North End have tonight and tomorrow.

They face Fleetwood Town at Highbury this evening and host Premier League side Newcastle United tomorrow afternoon at Deepdale.

Nugent is raring to go with Preston, 12 years after he left in a £6m move to Portsmouth.

He told the Lancashire Post: “I’m getting a lot fitter although I’m not up to speed yet with the other lads.

“I’ve been working hard with the fitness coach and training with the lads. When the weekend comes hopefully I will get on the pitch, although they have to be happy with my fitness.

“The injury is from when I played for Derby in the play-off semi-final.

“I hyper-extended my knee and some cartilage flicked off.

“I had an operation to tidy that up and then had to rest it after the surgery.

“Earlier in the summer I did some training at Derby as even though my contract was up, there’s a duty of care if a player is injured.

“They were great with me, I did my rehab there and now I’m building up my fitness here at Preston.

“I’m buzzing to be back, it still feels the same and I’ve some great memories.”

Nugent admitted it did not take much to tempt him back to Deepdale for a second spell.

Having reached the end of his contract at Derby and 
been released, he was a free agent.

Preston were the first club in touch and a deal was sorted from there. Nugent said: “You never know what is going to happen next in football.

“When my agent rang and said Preston were interested, I think he knew straight away that I wanted to come back.

“They were the first on the phone to show some interest and I told my agent, ‘Do it’.

“It didn’t take long, there were a few conversations and we got it agreed.

“I’m keen to show what I can do. I’m older now but just as determined to win games and score goals.

“It’s not a case of coming in and taking someone’s place, I’m part of a squad and like everyone else will have to prove I’m worth picking.

“We’ve got quite a young squad here who want to do well and I can help them.

“You start off by aiming for the top two and if that doesn’t go your way, you aim to get in the play-offs.

“Every season I’ve played in the Championship I have been pushing for promotion or the play-offs.”