Nugent back at happy hunting ground

DAVID Nugent, the striker who always seems to score at Portman Road and was a strong Ipswich Town target two years ago, is back in town tomorrow.

The England international will be in the Portsmouth team as the south coast-based outfit go looking for a four consecutive Championship victory (kick-off 3pm).

He has scored on previous visits for Preston, England and the winner for Pompey in a third round FA Cup tie in January 2008.

And he is in-form having notched his tenth goal of the season on Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Fratton Park.

Similar to Connor Wickham, Nugent has in recent games been moved wide to the left flank as manager Steve Cotterill attempted to shuffle his threadbare squad.

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

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

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‘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.”

The midweek victory lifted Portsmouth 10 points clear of the relegation zone, with Nugent’s fortuitous volley that bounced up to loop over stranded Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni proving to be the winner.

“It wasn’t the cleanest of strikes but, luckily, it took a great bounce and went over the keeper,” added Nugent, who was a target of previous manager Jim Magilton when unsettled at Portsmouth in the summer of 2008.

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

With a manager who believes in him, Nugent now looks a 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. Hopefully something can be sorted out soon.”

Portsmouth only named five substitutes on Tuesday with Liam Lawrence out with a thigh problem and Kanu visiting his sick mother in Nigeria.

The later should be back tomorrow with ex-Town favourite Hermann Hreidarsson now a regular at left back in the Portsmouth defence aged 36 having overcome a career-threatening Achilles injury.

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