"David Nugent is a terrific player. He's an established striker, and a good one, and we want to keep him here," Laws told the Lancashire Telegraph.
"I tried to nick him when he was at Bury and had a fight on my hands. I was at Scunthorpe and only had £50,000, Preston offered £65,000, and I couldn't raise the extra so I could talk to him.
"But I've watched his career all the way through.
"He's a quality player, and when you look for a striker who has a goalscoring record, in the Premier League, and they're available, they're hard to come by. When you've found one, keep him, and it's important we do.
"We'll certainly be working very hard with Portsmouth and David and hopefully talk him into staying."