10 years of service to the Cod Army
Nathan Pond says his journey with Fleetwood Town into the Football League has been a dream come true ahead of his testimonial match with his hometown club Preston North End this weekend.
The match against the League One side will celebrate Pond’s 10 years of service to the Cod Army, which started when he joined the club back in 2003 when Fleetwood was in the North West Counties Division One – level nine on the football ladder.
Since he made the move from Fulwood Amateurs as a teenager, the 28-year-old defender has played through five promotions in Fleetwood’s rise to the Football League and also played in the second half of last season – his first taste of league football.
Pond said: “I dreamed of being a Football League player. But with Fleetwood Town, it has been a different story because when I first started playing I was in the North West Counties, which is a long, long way from where we are now. It has been a roller-coaster ride, but I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
Pond and the Fleetwood Town squad returned home after the successful week-long training camp in Obertraun, Austria and after a few days to rest, the players returned to training today ahead of Pond’s testimonial clash.
Pond admits he is looking forward to the occasion, but insists there is a lot more hard work to be done to prepare for the game and the new season, which starts in just over two weeks.
“Obviously the testimonial is at the end of the week, but I want to get a good week’s worth of training in before that and work hard. I am looking forward to the game but there is a lot of hard work to do before that game.
“We have training on Tuesday so hopefully the lads have a good couple of days rest and will be raring to go again.”
The Town players will don the club’s new home and away Puma kit for the first time in the encounter and Pond says he is pleased with the new look strips.
“The shirts are very smart. The black away kit is different to what I am used to here but it looks good and I am happy with the kits.”
Looking towards the weekend and family, friends, former team-mates and former manager, Tony Greenwood, will travel to Highbury for the game to show their support to Pond as well as his hometown.
Pond admits some of his friends and family were big supporters of the Lilywhites, but says he will be looking for a win the teams go head-to-head this weekend as he the team will be treating his testimonial match as a normal pre-season clash.
“I have a lot of family and friends coming down. Some will be supporting North End and some will be supporting me and the Cod Army but it will be good to see their faces and hopefully we can get the result.
It is good that my hometown club are coming here to play us. I have lived in Preston all my life, I have got family members who support Preston, I have plenty friends who support Preston so it will be good to play my hometown club and get a win over them. It isn’t just my testimonial, it is a pre-season match so it is important that we do things right.”
Tickets are still available for Pondy’s testimonial match:
Ticket prices ALL SEATING are £14 Adults £9 Concessions £7 U16’s. All Under 5’s are free.
Ticket prices ALL STANDING are £12 Adults £7 Concessions £5 Under 16’s, Under 5’s free.
Tickets can be purchased in advance or on Saturday before until kick-off.
Jim's Sports Bar will be open on Saturday from 11am for home and away supporters.
The club encourages all football fans to come along and support Pondy for what promises to be a special occasion for him and the club.