Simpson in Nugent admission

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Paul Simpson admits failure to win promotion would make it difficult for Preston North End to hang on to David Nugent.

The striker has just been called into the England senior squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers with Israel and Andorra following an injury to Darren Bent.

His promotion from the Under 21s will only increase his stock and make him a target for more Premiership clubs in the summer.

Preston boss Simpson is aware that he could field interest at the end of the season and concedes The Lilywhites gaining promotion to the top flight is key to keeping Nugent.

"I think I'm realistic enough to know that, if we don't get promoted, the bigger clubs are going to come calling and that was before he got the international call-up," Simpson told TalkSPORT.

"He has shown over the season at both Championship and England Under 21 level that he is one of the top players in our division and, regardless of his call-up, if we don't go up in the summer we are going to have problems holding on to him.

"But I really don't believe that it's a problem I should lose sleep over."

Nugent could become the first Preston player since Sir Tom Finney to represent England and Simpson expressed his joy at the forward's call-up.

He added: "I'm delighted. Delighted for him as he's worked very hard this season and delighted for everyone connected with Preston North End because it's a long time since we had anyone in the full England setup.

"If Nuge can go on and have half the career that Tom had then I don't think he'll go far wrong."