Nugent: Switch has helped me

David Nugent celebrates his winner over Crystal Palace
David Nugent celebrates his winner over Crystal Palace
Scott Giles  Photography by Habibur Rahman

Genius who studied in Havant is off to Oxford University with five A and A*s under his belt

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David Nugent steered Pompey to a third straight win and insisted: Playing out wide has given me a new lease of life.

The rejuvenated forward netted his 10th goal of the season as Pompey deservedly grabbed a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Fratton Park last night.

The success was the Blues’ third on the bounce – and their third consecutive clean sheet – as they moved up to 15th in the Championship table.

While Nugent has been shifted over to the left flank in recent weeks as Steve Cotterill attempts to shuffle his threadbare squad, the former Preston man believes the change in position has enabled him to thrive.

Nugent said: ‘I’m happy to play on the left. I seem to score more goals from out there this season than playing up front.

‘I’m enjoying it and I get a bit more space out there.

‘I can hang out when the ball is on the right-hand side and make runs across defenders. Then you have to get a shot off when you can and it seems to be working well at the moment.

‘You can let Dave (Kitson) do the job up front on his own. He’s a big, strong lad who can win the headers and I can play off him out on the left.

‘If I’m scoring goals and we’re winning, I’m happy

‘That’s 10 for me now this season – nine in the league and one in the cup.’

Nugent sealed Pompey’s third succesive victory, which lifted them 10 points clear of the relegation zone, with a fortuitous volley that bounced up to loop over stranded Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

The Pompey top-scorer smiled: ‘It wasn’t the cleanest of strikes but, luckily, it took a great bounce and went over the keeper.

‘I thought he should have saved it at first but I saw the replay and it went pretty high over his head so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

‘It probably wouldn’t have gone in three weeks ago but we needed that goal.

‘But I thought we battered them with our performance all over the pitch. We deserved the three points.

‘There’s a lot of confidence around at the moment.

‘We’ve had three wins and a draw in our past four games and had three clean sheets on the bounce.’

With a manager who believes in him, Nugent now looks a completely different player to the one who cut such a forlorn figure for so much of his Fratton Park career.

But with his contract up in the summer, the 25-year-old is keen to remain at Pompey and is hopeful a new deal can be agreed.

He said: ‘We’re still talking. There are 14 games of the season still to go and there is a long time to sort it out.

‘Hopefully my agent and David Lampitt can sort that one out.

‘There’s no rush – we’ve got loads of time.

‘The transfer window is shut so I can’t go anywhere but we’re still talking at the moment.

‘I’m in a good run of form, I’m scoring goals and I’m happy. Hopefully something can be sorted out soon.’