Things have changed a little since Nathan Pond began his first pre-season for the club back in 2003.
“We only used to train on a Thursday night just behind the stadium. We had to clear the dog muck off the pitch before we had to put the nets up ourselves!”
Fast forward 14 years and Pond is now captain of Uwe Rosler’s Sky Bet League One side, a far cry from the days of pushing for promotion in the North West Counties Division One.
Speaking after cooling off from training at Town’s state-of-the-art training complex Poolfoot Farm, the 32 year-old explained the difference between 2003 and now.
“The sports science side of the game is in a different world now, there’s a lot more of a thought process that goes into pre-season,” added Pond.
“It’s been really good. We had a tough week last week and now we are back with the footballs – it’s actually enjoyable!”
The Preston-born centre half has set his sights on reaching a remarkable 500 career appearances for the club this term – he needs just 38 more to reach it.
And with new signing Harvey Rodgers training with his new teammates this week, Pond is relishing the competition for a starting spot in the middle of Town’s defence.
“It will be tough because of the competition for places, but whenever the team need me I’ll be ready to play.
“Harvey joining is good for the club. Between me, Ash [Eastham] and Cian [Bolger] we all played around the same amount of games, but it’s important to keep your form up because you know someone can step up and play.”
Perhaps even more remarkable is Pond’s goal scoring record, having scored 51 times for the Cod Army – yet he hasn’t found the net in over two years.
“I still remember that goal! It was a late equaliser to make it 2-2 against Bradford,” explained Pond.
“I’ve scored two own goals since then, so I’m on minus two at the moment. [Cian] Bolger got five or six goals last season and Ash [Eastham] got a couple too, so I need to chip in a bit more and hopefully I can this season.”
Watch Nathan in action this season with a Fleetwood Town season ticket. The Early Bird deadline has passed, but you can still get great value with adult season tickets starting from £250! Call 01253 775080 for more details.