AFTER recording yet another milestone with Fleetwood Town, Nathan Pond faces a challenge as he targets two more.
The club’s longest-serving player, who made has eagerly-awaited Football League debut in Saturday’s shock home defeat by Bristol Rovers, will celebrate 10 years at Highbury in March.
When Town entertain Gillingham at the end of that month, it will be a decade since the 28-year-old made his debut for the club at St Helens Town in the North West Counties League.
And five promotions later, Pond would love to re-establish himself in the first team by the time of that anniversary match against the Gills, having made his first appearance of the season for the club as a half-time substitute last weekend.
The other milestone in Pond’s sights is 50 goals for the club – he is currently two short.
Pond hasn’t found the net for Town since last February but he is in rich scoring form, having bagged five in 26 games for Conference high-flyers Grimsby, where he spent the first five months of this season on loan.
And his first taste of League action has left Pond itching for more. He said: “I played 45 minutes against Bristol and I’ll work hard in training this week to try to get a start at Barnet on Saturday. The manager’s been looking at me and hopefully I can nail a first-team place down now.”
Pond has racked up over 300 Town appearances since signing as an 18-year-old, after players Martin Eatough and Tony Greenwood had been put in charge.
His first home game, a 1-1 draw with Clitheroe, was watched by 158 spectators in April 2003. “I don’t remember much about that game,” he added. “I do remember having to go to Newcastle Town to gain promotion and scoring the first to set up our victory.
“There are many good memories to look back on and hopefully many more to come. The first four promotions were all memorable but the fifth, and a place in the Football League, was incredible.”
Pond made 40 appearances in that Conference title winning side, little realising he would have to wait so long to pull on the Town jersey again.
“Last Saturday was a nice day for me personally, making my first appearance in the Football League, but unfortunately the result didn’t go our way,” he said.
“Full credit to Bristol Rovers, they were a very good side. They were very aggressive and passed the ball very well. They’re scrapping for their lives down at the bottom and it showed.”