Striker won’t be bound by sentiment

Pompey striker David Nugent
Pompey striker David Nugent
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin struggles to hide his disappointment

Southend 3-1 Pompey: They said what?

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David Nugent has told his Preston pals: Thanks for everything but I won’t be doing you any favours.

The Blues forward faces his old club for only the second time since his £6m move to Pompey in 2007, when Phil Brown’s relegation-threatened outfit visit Fratton Park tomorrow.

Team-mate Dave Kitson struggled when he took on his former club Reading last weekend.

But Nugent is determined to right the wrongs of what happened up at Deepdale in August when a skeleton Pompey side turned in a miserable show in a 1-0 loss.

The striker said: ‘Preston are fighting for their lives down at the bottom of the league and they have had a good run of form lately.

‘But I can’t afford to think about them.

‘I have to stick to my guns with Pompey and see what we can achieve this season.

‘I want to win the game for us and give our play-off hopes a chance.’

Kitson suffered in front of goal against his former club last weekend after he was afforded a warm welcome by the Reading supporters for his excellent service at the Madejski Stadium.

At least four decent chances went begging and, while the Blues striker still gave his all, it just didn’t happen for him.

Professional footballers have to get used to the prospect of coming up against their former employers on a regular basis and Nugent admits it’s only natural it plays a part in the preparations.

But he revealed he would not celebrate if he does score against his old friends.

Nugent said: ‘You think about it before the game.

‘You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.

‘But once it kicks off, you are focused on trying to win the game.

‘I would love to score. You want to score in every game but because it’s your former club, you want to prove you are still the same player you were when you played for them in the past.

‘I do want to score but I won’t celebrate if I do.

‘I want to be respectful to a club where I had a great time for two-and-a-half years.

‘There are still a few players there that I know and the fans were brilliant to me when I was there.

‘You see it a lot these days. If you leave a club on good terms – which I did – people don’t like to celebrate too much against their former clubs.

‘I don’t think Kits would have done it because he is a legend at Reading.

‘But if I’m lucky enough to score, I won’t rub it in.’

Aside from his own personal agenda, Nugent cast his mind back to that dark day at Deepdale towards the start of the campaign when Pompey were a shadow of the side they are now.

And he believes it’s a major turnaround in fortunes for both clubs.

He said: ‘Last time we played them at Deepdale we were really poor and they deserved to win the game.

‘So we are looking to get one over on them this time around.

‘We looked like a team that was in big trouble when we played them at the start of the season.

‘The start was horrific – we didn’t have any wins in seven and looked like we were really going to struggle but it looks a whole lot better for us now.’