Well, the day has arrived. David Nugent is a Preston player once again.
Speculation in recent days has suggested that Nugent was coming back to Deepdale, 12 years since leaving. On Saturday, he was spotted watching Preston take on AFC Fylde, a clear pre-cursor to his move.
There have been a couple of things to iron out in Nugent’s deal, but it’s finally been confirmed. Nugent has signed a deal from August 1st, but no contract length has been announced as things stand.
The 34-year-old comes as a free agent, having left Derby County at the end of last season. He scored just twice last term, but played his part in Derby reaching the Championship play-off final as a hard-working veteran.
Nugent is by no means the player he was in his first spell at North End – far from it. The pace has largely gone now, and his ability in front of goal has warned too.
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However, he’s a great veteran presence, and he’s basically been living in the Championship’s top six in recent years. That kind of experience could be vital for North End’s youthful squad, bringing the know-how Alex Neil has been looking for.
Really though, this feels like a move driven by emotion. Nugent was a North End hero, even scoring for England during his time as a Preston player. For years now, we’ve wondered whether Nugent would come ‘home’ – and now, he has.
Nugent has spoken to the club’s official website about his move, offering instant reaction. Nugent has admitted that he’s delighted to be back, and hope to make it third time lucky with a promotion bid, after two failed attempts in his first spell.
Nugent added that he needs to prove himself to manager Neil, but thinks he and ex-Leicester City teammate Paul Gallagher can really help the young players at Deepdale.
“I’m delighted to be back,” said Nugent. “It’s been a long time since I left the club, we came so close to getting promoted twice and hopefully I can come back and it can be third time lucky and try and get this club to the Premier League. I might be 34, but I still have plenty of running in my legs. I might have to prove that on the pitch if selected by the manager. I have not just come here to take anyone’s place in the team, I have come to be part of a team and help the lads achieve what they want to achieve.”
“It’s a young bunch who are hungry to get to the Premier League. Hopefully the likes of Gally [Paul Gallagher], myself and some of the older pros, can help the young lads through it,” he added.