Redknapp confirms Derby's interest in Nugent

August 27, 2007

Portsmouth have admitted that Premier League rivals Derby are pursuing a bid to sign striker David Nugent - just a few weeks after his £6 million arrival at Fratton Park.

But Pompey manager Harry Redknapp is poised to restore Nugent to the side in Carling Cup action at home to Leeds tomorrow - and says he does not want to sell him.

Nugent is set to take the place of last season's top scorer Kanu whom Redknapp will rest - after the Nigerian's own return to the first team - ahead of Sunday's visit to Arsenal.

Nugent was again on the bench in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea - with Kanu, Benjani and John Utaka picked up front.

And he just missed out on his first goal of the season after coming on as a substitute for the last six minutes - only to see his goal-bound shot blocked by team-mate Benjani.

Rumours of Derby's interest in taking him to Pride Park - where Billy Davies, Nugent's former boss at Preston, is in charge - refuse to go away.

Neither do suggestions that Redknapp, after a £23 million transfer spree this summer, has been told he must now continue to sell players before he can launch a transfer deadline-beating bid for Bolton's French ace Nicolas Anelka, valued at £12 million.

Redknapp, who has already off-loaded Lomana Lualua, Andy O'Brien, Andy Griffin and Svetoslav Todorov for nearly £5 million, admitted: 'Derby do want to sign Nugent. They would like him.

'But he's only just joined us and I'm happy to keep him here. He's a young player and obviously he wants to play but at the moment Kanu has been absolutely brilliant, Utaka's a threat and Benjani does well.

'So it has been difficult for David and he has to be patient.'

Before the defeat by Chelsea, Redknapp said: 'Anelka is a good player as he showed at Portsmouth last week for Bolton but that (bid) is going nowhere at the moment.

'But I'm ambitious, the chairman is ambitious and if we can get somebody in this week to improve the team we will do it.'

Redknapp wants to rest a few players against Leeds including keeper David James whom he has absolved from blame for the Chelsea goal which went under his his outstretched hand on Saturday - while England manager Steve McClaren watched at Stamford Bridge.

Sol Campbell - who has just returned after two games out with the groin injury which also aborted his England return - Kanu, Gary O'Neil and Lauren may all step down while Linvoy Primus, Pedro Mendes and Nico Kranjcar are all unlikely to be fit enough to return.

'It is a chance for one or two fringe players to get a chance,' admitted Redknapp, but he will be well aware of Leeds' astonishing start to the season.

Deducted 15 points over controversial chairman Ken Bates' administration dealings and relegated to League One, Dennis Wise's team have started the campaign with three straight wins and can completely wipe out their deficit if they win their next two league games.