David Nugent to follow de Sart from Middlesbrough to Derby

Middlesbrough striker David Nugent is to return to the Championship with a permanent move to Derby County, according to The Gazette.

Nugent will link up with on-loan Boro midfielder Julien de Sart at Pride Park, though the forward will be making the switch permanently.

Young Belgian prospect de Sart enjoyed a productive debut for the Rams at the weekend, winning plaudits as Derby overcame West Brom to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Hull header adds to popularity

Nugent only joined Middlesbrough last summer, but his dynamic performances and off-the-pitch personality quickly established him as a fans' favourite at the Riverside.

Boro are thought to be recouping the initial £2million they paid Leicester City for Nugent last summer, though his eventual fee rose to around twice that fee after the one-cap England international helped them to promotion.

His finest moment in a Boro shirt without doubt came at home to promotion rivals Hull City.

At the end of a week in which Boro had been beaten by lowly Charlton Athletic and Aitor Karanka looked to be on his way out of the club, Nugent headed in a last-minute winner to put the Teessiders back on track and kickstart a winning run which saw them surge back up the table.

Incoming forwards force Nugent out

However, the arrivals of Jordan Rhodes last January and Alvaro Negredo over the summer have meant that Nugent's claim for first-team football has weakened over the past 12 months, and he has featured just five times this season.

With Rudy Gestede now joining from Aston Villa and more strikers linked with the club, Nugent has moved on in search of more time on the pitch and more goals in a league where he has consistently flourished.

In all competitions, Nugent scored nine goals in 45 appearances across his season and a half on Teesside, after netting 59 in 180 for Leicester in the four years previous.