Striker to return: Second Deepdale coming for David Nugent is set to be completed today
The return of David Nugent to Preston after 12 years away should be confirmed today.
Nugent, 34, watched the Lilywhites’ 4-0 victory at AFC Fylde with PNE owner Trevor Hemmings on Saturday.
His return has created a big buzz among North End fans, the large support at Mill Farm chanting the striker’s name during the game.
Talks with Nugent’s agent bore fruit earlier last week with a deal struck for him to sign on a Bosman after being released by Derby.
With him having suffered a knee injury playing in the Rams’ play-off clash with Leeds in May, an extensive medical was done.
Nugent is still recovering from the injury and it could be late August before he is fit to play.
One slight hold-up to the deal being signed-off is the fact Nugent is still on Derby’s payroll for another couple of weeks.
Players who are released by a club without being offered a new contract get paid until the end of July even though their deal ended a month earlier.
Nugent was only with North End for two-and-a-half years between January 2005 and July 2007 before being sold to Portsmouth for £6m.
In that time though, he was a huge fans’ favourite and the fact he seemed to be linked with a move back during a number of transfer windows is a mark of his popularity.
He will became the second summer signing at Deepdale, following Patrick Bauer into the arrivals’ lounge.
The deal was in the offing before Callum Robinson’s sale to Sheffield United at the end of last week.
So North End boss Alex Neil is looking to do further work in the transfer window.
With Robinson netting 13 times last season, Neil needs to replace that source of goals.
Whether that sees Preston attempt to land a player who scores from wide in the mould of Robinson, or someone to play more centrally, remains to be seen.
On the playing front, Neil was pleased with North End’s display at AFC Fylde.
There was a hat-trick from Sean Maguire with Billy Bodin getting the other goal.
Neil used 21 players, with keeper Connor Ripley the only player to last the 90 minutes.
They were again without Brad Potts and Darnell Fisher who have yet to play in any of the pre-season games.
Potts has had an injection to reduce a cyst in his knee which was irritating the area he had surgery on towards the end of last season.
The midfielder all being well, should return to action against Southampton at the weekend.
Right-back Fisher has had surgery to repair a hernia in his stomach area and should be back in training in the next two or three weeks.