David Nugent is expected to miss several weeks of action due to injury, according to Preston North End manager Alex Neil.
The forward picked up a knock to his calf during a behind-closed-doors clash with League Two side Salford City last week, but was initially expected to return to training ahead of the Lilywhites’ game against Bradford City on Tuesday.
However, speaking to the Lancashire Post, Neil confirmed the severity of Nugent’s issue by revealing: “We got it scanned, more as a precaution than anything else.
“We found the injury was worse than we first thought and Nuge will be missing for a few weeks.
“It was in the bounce match last week, in the first 20 minutes he went up for a header and landed on one foot, it was all pretty innocuous.”
Despite arriving at Deepdale earlier this summer as a free agent after being released by Derby County, Nugent has yet to make his bow for Preston in what is his second spell with the club.
Although the Lilywhites managed to secure a 3-0 victory over Championship rivals Wigan Athletic at the weekend in Nugent’s absence, this latest setback for the forward is unquestionably bad news for Neil.
Having missed a considerable chunk of Preston’s pre-season due to issues with fitness, the forward’s calf injury has now limited the club’s options in an attacking sense.
Whereas Louis Moult and Sean Maguire both managed to find the back of the net against Wigan, the likes of Jayden Stockley and Graham Burke have yet to prove their worth at Championship level for Preston.
Therefore, with Nugent boasting an impressive record of 120 goals in 391 second-tier games, it was expected that the forward would play a major role for Neil’s side this season.
However, with the former Leicester City man now being forced to watch on from the sidelines, the pressure is on Preston’s strikers to produce the goods over the coming weeks.