Nugent out to avoid close shave against Scunthorpe

David Nugent celebrates his goal against Ipswich
David Nugent celebrates his goal against Ipswich
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Dion Donohue and Matty Kennedy. Picture: Joe Pepler

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David Nugent has set his sights on continuing his goalscoring form and powering Pompey up the Championship table.

The Blues hitman is refusing to shave while the goals continue to flow after bagging two strikes on the bounce – and wants his whiskers to remain against Scunthorpe tonight.

Nugent grabbed his 11th of the campaign against the Tractor Boys on Saturday as he moves towards the 15-goal target he set at the start of the season.

The 25-year-old’s confidence is flowing after a run of three goals in his past five games.

Nugent explained that belief is echoed around the Pompey squad as they go into the game off the back of four wins and as many clean sheets.

That has seen talk of a late run for the play-offs emerge, although his team are still 10 points off of the top six.

Nugent warned against complacency as Steve Cotterill’s men go into two games on the bounce against sides in the drop zone.

The Scouser knows Scunthorpe will arrive at Fratton Park desperately scrapping for every point they can pick up.

Nugent said: ‘We have two big home games coming up.

‘They are both winnable games but we aren’t going to take that for granted.

‘They (Scunthorpe) are trying hard to survive but we’ve had four wins and four clean sheets now and are confident.

‘I wanted 15 goals for the season and I’m on 11 now.

‘I won’t be taking it for granted that I get to that total.

‘But I just want to carry on the goals to get us up the league.

‘We’ve started to believe more now.

‘We’ve had a bad run at home but we are starting to get our confidence back there.

‘We did struggle there (at Fratton Park) but the players we’ve brought in have made a difference

‘Cotts (David Cotterill) has definitely made a big difference on the wing.

‘We probably still don’t have the depth but because we have a small squad there is a good unit and a really strong team spirit.

‘Scunthorpe are still fighting for their lives and they’ve had a few good results recently.

‘It’s a tough task for us but it’s a game we can win.

‘We’ve had a couple of wins at home and that has given us more confidence.

‘We are definitely looking forward to the next few games.’

Nugent will no doubt find himself coming in for some stick from travelling Scunthorpe fans tonight.

It’s unlikely to reach the levels he took at Portman Road on Saturday, though.

The £6m signing from Preston in 2007 was hammered by the home crowd as he took his goal tally to seven in eight games against the Tractor Boys.

Nugent insisted any of that kind of abuse serves only to help him raise his game.

He said: ‘Fans are passionate and if someone scores against their side they don’t like it.

‘That doesn’t bother me, though. Every time I get stick I seem to play better. I always use it to my advantage.’

Nugent praised Pompey’s resilience as they continued their winning ways in Suffolk.

Steve Cotterill’s battlers withstood a first-half storm before punishing their rivals for their missed chances.

It was a similar story in periods of their other recent wins, too.

Nugent knows the Blues are going to have to continue showing their gritty side if their run is to continue.

He said: ‘We work hard, we can hit teams on the counter-attack and we can punish them.

‘We’ve had a few games when we’ve been under the cosh.

‘But when other teams get on top we know that we can be dangerous on the counter-attack. We punish them.

‘Ipswich were on top but we were closing down and working hard.

‘We felt that if we held out we could get on top in the end – and that’s what happened.

‘Once we got the goal I thought we deserved to win the game. We just need to keep that run going now and carry on winning games.’