Coach Barry Nicholson says Nathan Pond will never be forgotten at Fleetwood Town, who head to their former skipper’s new stomping ground Salford City tonight.
Pond spent 16 seasons at Town, climbing from the North West Counties to League One, but now the 33-year-old has been reunited with former Highbury boss Graham Alexander at Salford.
Pond and former Town team-mates Chris Neal and Nick Haughton are expected to feature in tonight’s 7.45pm kick-off to be televised on BT Sport..
Town first-team coach Nicholson admits it will be “very strange” to see Pond lining up against Town.
He said: “I’m sure the big man will find it strange as well but these things happen in football. He felt and the club felt that it was the right time to move on.
“Salford have got themselves a leader, a captain, I don’t think anyone at Fleetwood will ever forget what the big man did for the club, the town or the community.”
Town have already had their first pre-season run-out, a training game against Southport on Tuesday whichthey won 3-1, and Nicholson said: “We showed the players a few clips on Thursday. You could see some of the stuff we had been working on in training coming to fruition.
“There is still loads to work on. We have stressed that to the players but it was a really positive start.
“Twenty outfield players got 45 minutes, which was a big bonus, and we did not pick up any injuries”
Some players are expected to up their minutes from 45 to 60 tonight, when Alex Cairns, Lewie Coyle, Bobby Grant and Tommy Spurr are set to feature after missing the Southport clash, though midfielder Toumani Diagouraga is again expected to be omitted.
Nicholson said: “Tommy and Coyley were a week behind some of the lads,. They joined us a little bit later but were both itching to play on Tuesday. I think it was probably the right decision to hold them back a little bit but they will get enough minutes under their belts this pre-season.
“Everybody is raring to go. Bobby did a little bit of work on the training ground when the game was going on, so he is fit.
“The young boys have all been given a fair crack of the whip and have enjoyed being around the first team set-up.
“It’s a really positive environment with good vibes coming from the dressing room.”