Skipper calls for good Ball reception

David Ball returns to Highbury with Rotherham United on Saturday
David Ball returns to Highbury with Rotherham United on Saturday

Fleetwood Town skipper Nathan Pond says Rotherham forward David Ball deserves a good reception when he makes his first return to Highbury since his summer exit.

The 27-year-old made 200 appearances for Town and netted 49 times in a five-year spell at the club.

He was part of the Town side that clinched promotion from League Two with a 1-0 win over Burton Albion at Wembley in 2014.

After a lengthy spell at the club the out of contract forward opted for pastures new and a fresh challenge at Rotherham United.

A quirk of the fixture list means Ball will be starting the new season at Highbury on Saturday, albeit with a different side.

And skipper Pond expects the Cod Army to give the hit-man the reception he deserves.

Pond said: “Knowing the Fleetwood fans, anyone who put a Fleetwood Town shirt on will get a good reception.

“He got promoted with us at Wembley, spent five years here, over 200 appearances, 49 goals and he deserves a good reception.”

Full-back Conor McLaughlin also left the club to join Championship side Millwall leaving Pond as the only solitary survivor of that 2014 promotion side.

However, the 32-year-old says departures are part and parcel of the game and is already impressed by Ball’s replacement at Highbury, former Everton forward Conor McAleny.

He said: “Conor and Bally have been great for the club, not only with their performances on the pitch but they are good characters off the pitch in the changing rooms.

“They had a good rapport with the fans as well.

“It is a shame to see them go but that is football, we move on and get the replacements in.

“That is the past now and we wish them all the best.”