David Nugent has said that fitness is the main focus for him as he returned to action for PNE tonight for the first time in 12 years.
Nugent played 45 minutes against Fleetwood Town in a 1-0 defeat, but having picked up an injury at the back end of last season, he is still on his way back to full match fitness.
Speaking to iFollowPNE after the game, North End’s No.35 was already looking to his next minutes and is happy to be back playing again.
He said: “It was nice. Walking into the changing room and seeing my number there again, obviously it doesn’t look the same without your name on the back, but my numbers there.
“I’m just glad to get 45 out of the way in my first game of pre-season, and I got through it unscathed so I’m looking forward to the next one.”
“It’s been a long recovery, I didn’t really have a summer, it was all about getting fit and getting ready to sign for a new club. I’m just happy to be signed up now, pulling the shirt on again and playing.”
Having joined back up with the squad full time recently, Nugent acknowledges that the sharpness he is able to garner in training is different to match minutes.
“It’s totally different fitness – training fitness to game fitness,” he said.
“It’s a lot more intense in the game, you don’t really get above 90% in training but when you get into a game and you know you’re only getting 45 minutes you know you’ve got to give it all to get the fitness in.
“Hopefully my stats show that I’ve put in a good shift. I won’t be involved tomorrow but come Millwall, if I’m involved I’ll be happy to come on and try and make a difference if needed.”
The striker sees tonight’s 45 minutes as the start of his pre-season and he is looking to make an impact as soon as he is called upon.
He said: “That’s my start, it might be a couple of weeks until I’m really match fit because I do need a lot more minutes.
“But 10 minutes there, 15 minutes there will only help, I’ve got to work hard in training and try and impress the manager.
“When selected or coming on as a sub you’ve got to make that difference to make him want to play you in the next day.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s still early days but I can’t wait for the season to start.”
You can watch the full interview with David Nugent by clicking on the video above.