Blues must prove ambition to Nugent

On-Loan Wolves midfielder Connor Ronan

Pompey loanee: So right to swap Premier League push for League One

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill insists the club must prove that they want to keep David Nugent.

The Blues striker netted a spectacular eighth goal of the season in the 3-3 draw at Leeds to leapfrog Liam Lawrence as the club's leading goalscorer this term.

But while the player – who is out of contract in the summer – revealed in The News last week that he has no interest in a January move away, Premier League clubs will surely be monitoring his progress closely.

Nugent, who signed from Preston for 6m back in 2007, recently opened negotiations with the club over a new deal.

But while the Blues will no longer be able to pay the same kind of salary, Cotterill believes the club has to give him the right incentive to stay with a clear future plan.

Cotterill explained: 'I think Nugent will stay – certainly for the rest of the season.

'But we've got to show him where we want the club to go after that.

'Nugent was one of 40-odd players and was just a number in the past.

'Now he's a star player and enjoying himself.

'You can tell that by the goal he scored (against Leeds).'

The Blues boss was left drooling by the quality of Nugent's latest effort, pictured right, as he lashed in an unstoppable effort beyond Leeds keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Cotterill said: 'It certainly might be the cleanest strike he's scored for us. No goalkeeper saves that.

'Nuge has scored some good goals since I've been here, whether they are dribbles or goals like that.

'I've got a lot of time for Kasper Schmeichel.

'I worked with him last season at Notts County but there was no way he was saving that one.'