New pairing boosts Fleetwood options

Skipper for the night Nathan Pond conducts the pre-match handshakes with the Colne players.
Skipper for the night Nathan Pond conducts the pre-match handshakes with the Colne players.

FLEETWOOD Town’s newlook central defensive double-act was one of the success stories of Monday’s 9-1 friendly hammering of Colne.

Nathan Pond captained the Town side and partnered Rob Atkinson, who is battling back to full fitness after a broken ankle, in the heart of defence.

Pond is the club’s longest-serving player and the only one who can recall playing North West Counties club Colne in the league before Town’s meteoric rise.

Pond has established himself in the back four while Atkinson was recuperating and he sees no reason why they should not play in tandem.

The midfielder-turned-defender said: “I think it’s one of Rob’s first full games back since his injury and I thought we played well together.”

Assistant manager Craig Madden was also encouraged by what he saw, saying: “They have only played together in training games.

“We’d like them to be more domineering in the air and win more headers in each box, but it was a good exercise for both of them.”

Pond felt the match, originally a reserve team league match until both managers agreed to field first-team players, was worthwhile to keep Town’s engines ticking over after their visit to Mansfield was frozen off last Saturday.

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He added: “It was a very comfortable win in the end, and it was a good workout for the lads, just doing things right and brushing out the cobwebs really.

“Colne had a few good players and worked hard as well, so it was a good game in the end.

“We got nine, but it could have been a lot more if the lads had taken their chances, but the main thing is we’re still creating chances and working on a few other things.” Madden was highly critical of Town’s failure to reach double figures and called for a ruthless streak when Town welcome Cambridge to Highbury on Saturday.

Micky Mellon’s No.2 said: “We have to be ruthless. We go into game in good form as we have last few. “We are 16 games unbeaten and are the form team, but we have to turn that to our advantage.

“We need to go out against Cambridge, really put a show on and put some goals away to start showing people we really mean business.”

Pond agrees, saying: “We need to win after our last draw at home (against Tamworth). It should be a good game and hopefully we’ll get the three points we need.”

Nathan Pond was talking to LIZ OWENS