Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander has full confidence in Nathan Pond, should the Town stalwart’s services be required against Rochdale on Saturday.
Pond played almost 90 minutes at Bramall Lane on Saturday, when added-time is taken into account, having come on as an early substitute for Stephen Jordan.
Pond was dropped in November after a bad run of form and spent time out of the squad with a frustrating injury.
But he’s been working hard at the club’s Fylde RFC training base to haul himself back into contention – something which hasn’t gone unnoticed by his manager.
Alexander said: “Pondy’s trained well the last few weeks because he’s been itching for his chance.
“But Mark Roberts and Stephen Jordan have been superb as well.
“This is the importance of players who aren’t in the team keeping themselves right and training right – their chance could come at any time.
“If you don’t take that chance, then you might find yourself out of the side.
“But Pondy was superb when he came on and he was back to the Pondy that we know.”
Jordan pulled up as he raced to cover for left-back Adam Chicksen in the early stages of the 2-1 victory at Sheffield United.
The centre-half attempted to run off the pain but was forced to halt and limped off following intervention from club physio Luke Bussey.
Alexander is hoping he’ll have Jordan, already a player of the season candidate, back sooner rather than later.
“I think he’s twinged his hamstring a bit,” said Alexander. “Hopefully it’s nothing too major.
“He’s been fantastic this season. To lose him so early was a hard one because we thought his experience and composure would help us.
“But Mark Roberts and Nathan Pond just carried on in the same form.”
Pond is Fleetwood’s only ready-made replacement at centre-half should Jordan miss out on Saturday’s home clash with Dale.
Young defender Tom Davies has joined Conference strugglers Southport on loan, while left-sided defenders Stephen Crainey and Adam Chicksen have little experience in the middle.
Nick Haughton shouldn’t be the only man taking the credit for Fleetwood Town’s return to goalscoring form.
The 19-year-old midfielder scored his first professional goal in Saturday’s victory at Bramall Lane.
But Town boss Graham Alexander believes the work of wide men Gareth Evans and Josh Morris also deserves significant recognition, even if they don’t play Haughton’s eye-catching brand of football.
The Fleetwtood manager said: “Nick gets the attention with his tricks and all, but there’s Gaz Evans and Josh Morris who give us a creative edge in different ways.
“The mileage they must do in the course of a game is ridiculous.
“And in fairness to Jamie Proctor, I thought he was magnificent on Saturday too, holding the ball up, bringing others into play.
“He was a constant thorn in the side for Sheffield United.”