Fleetwood skipper Pond calls on Cod Army to march again

Nathan Pond applauds the fans after Saturday's derby
Nathan Pond applauds the fans after Saturday's derby

Fleetwood skipper Nathan Pond hopes Town’s dogged derby day display in front of a near sell-out crowd encourages more fans to come back for Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Hereford.

More than 5,000 flocked to Highbury last Saturday to witness Town draw 0-0 with Blackpool in the fourth Fylde coast derby.

While Town could not muster a shot on target, there was a defensive masterclass from Pond as he helped Town bounce back from a 4-2 shock at Walsall.

Now as they prepare to host Southern League Premier Division side Hereford in the second round of the FA Cup, Pond hopes for a fourth successive clean sheet at home.

The non-league side are set to bring over a thousand fans and the 32-year-old said: “It has been a bit of a challenge off the back of the 4-2 defeat. The morale in the squad was down but you could not ask for a better game to turn it around than a derby.

“Last Wednesday we talked about the Walsall game and what we could have done better, so we put that disappointment behind us. We wanted a win on Saturday but a draw was a fair result and another clean sheet at home is something to build on.

“When we came out for the warm-up the stands were packed, flares were going off during the game, the drum was beating. It was nice to get a near full house and hopefully our performance justified them coming back next week.”

BBC One’s Football Focus will be broadcast live from Highbury Stadium from noon on Saturday.

Dan Walker will present the show live and Jim’s Bar will be open from noon for supporters to see the actual FA Cup and soak up the atmosphere.

Pond is the only player to have featured in all four competitive fixtures between Fleetwood and Blackpool, none of which Town have won, and he scored his only League goal in his own net against the Seasiders two seasons ago.

And Saturday’s man of the match wants a bit more magic in front of goal.

Pond said: “Up to the last few games we’d scored in every game in the season. A bit more quality in the final third and the goals will come.

“It was one of the better derbies. Every time we seem to play them it is gale- force winds. There has only been one goal in the three league games, which I scored in my own net!

“Obviously there is a lot at stake and nobody wants and it comes to a point where you have just got to shut up shop and hope for a bit of magic from the front men.

“The had half a chance, we had half a chance. There was nothing really in the game.

Town will be back in cup action at Highbury next Tuesday in the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy.

They will face the runners-up from group F, which will be finalised tonight when Chesterfield play Manchester City Under-21s.